The Barcel hotel chain, the second in Spain in number of rooms and one of the largest in the world, closed the year 2020 with losses of 137 million euros, as a result of the 60% drop in billing (946 million) due to the pandemic, according to data provided this Tuesday.
In a virtual press conference with journalists, the CEO of Barcel Hotels, Ral Gonzlez, recognized that 2020 has been “a disastrous year”, He believes that this 2021 there will be no Easter and he has doubts regarding the summer. “We are living in a worse situation than it is reflected. The issue is whether we will have a summer quarter or mid-summer, we will not have a full summer, but something yes … And there will be no Easter and there will be no spring,” he explained the top leader of the hotel chain.
Gonzlez recalled that in Europe right now “there is a confinement similar to that of May and June, with a lot of limitation to mobility”, and that the vaccination process takes time to take effect. “We have reached the point where moving is illegal. Sometimes we are not allowed to accommodate even the residents of the large autonomous community, which is the last straw. It seems miraculous to me that we have occupations of 15-20%, “said the manager.
The group expected to have made 200 million euros in 2020, but the pandemic broke out and made a loss, “the worst results in the history of the company“, said the manager.
“We have had a horrible 2020, a 2021 that begins the same and that we hope will end better,” he said. You believe that recovering pre-2019 income will not be possible until 2024, because, although there is a recovery in demand and tourists return to hotels, “then average prices will have to be recovered and that will have a temporary lag.”
The CEO of Barcel has joined the demands of the tourism sector, which demands direct aid for some companies that, as a whole, have suffered drops in activity of 70%, with losses for the entire sector of 100,000 million euros and an impact on GDP that means that two thirds of the loss of national wealth in Spain due to the pandemic is a consequence of the collapse of tourism.
“This is the crisis of mobility, leisure and tourism and the impact it is having on the sector is brutal. This impact is not being taken into account by activity sector. It is not a generalized crisis, because there are some who have even benefited, “said Ral Gonzlez.
“There are some companies that have been conditioned and forced to close, and in the same way that when companies earn money they have to pay taxes, when activity limits they have to receive aid. I do not understand the payment of garbage taxes if there is no rubbish or why we pay a IBI if there is no activity “, he said.
The manager believes that the hotel sector is in survival mode but thinks that we must also take advantage of it to “make the group stronger.” Despite the crisis, a total of 13 hotels will open this year, both in Spain and abroad, as part of their expansion plan. They will open, among other destinations, on the Costa del Sol, Alicante, Maldives, Bali, Sri Lanka or Madeira. In addition, they are going to invest 200 million in the reform of some of the hotels in the chain.
“Once we assimilate the impact, we work to make the group stronger. We are trying to grow, to have a more sustainable group, trying to grow in new geographies, with limited risk models. It was one of the great successes of the previous crisis, invest in assets, reposition them. We want recovery to catch us with hotels in perfect magazine condition“, has said.
In the areas where they are present, he points out that the United States performs better because the domestic market is stronger. The Caribbean part is suffering a lot, with drops of 60-70%. “It is better than Europe and worse than the United States,” he points out. In Dubai and the Emirates the occupancy is reaching 75%.
He also believes that latent demand, when you can get out, will come quickly, because “people are willing to travel.” And he thinks that hotels are advancing in this turbulent period in some things, such as digitization, the fact that you can look at a menu with a QR code, for example.
In Spain the hotel sector is not very concentrated. The big chains have a 7% share, compared to the 50% that the large companies have in the US, for example.
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