EU measures to reduce the aviation sector’s net emissions by 2050 could have a huge impact on Spain’s tourism industry and economy, the country’s main airline and tourism associations have warned.
For a country like Spain, whose tourism sector makes almost 13 percent of its overall GDP, the socioeconomic effects of the EU’s new emissions law could be dramatic. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)
Leading airline bosses have warned that EU plans to reduce the aviation industry’s net emissions to zero by 2050 could have a major impact on the Spanish tourism sector, with potential losses of 11 million international tourists a year, according to a report.
The startling figure comes from a report made by consulting firm Deloitte, who estimate that the loss of tourists could mean a reduction in Spain’s GDP by around 1.6 percent (roughly €23 billion) and the loss of 430,000 jobs by 2030.
The economic impact would be felt across different sectors, too, with the hospitality sector projected to lose €3.6 billion, and the new tax measures on aviation alone would mean a 0.9 percent drop in GDP and 236,000 jobs lost.
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For a country like Spain, whose tourism sector makes almost 13 percent of its overall GDP, the socioeconomic effects could be dramatic.
Spain is the second most visited tourist destination in the world, with over 80 million visitors a year, and it is expected that it could be one of the countries most effected by the incoming changes to the aviation sector as eight out of every ten international visitors to Spain come by plane.
The Deloitte report was presented at an event jointly held by the ALA, Spain’s airline association, and the CEOE, its business federation, during which the presidents of both bodies met with the bosses of some of the biggest airlines in the Spanish market.
‘Only the rich will travel’
The environmental measures wouldn’t only have an impact on the Spanish economy or its big airlines, however.
At the meeting Jesús Cierco, Corporate Director at Iberia Express, expressed his fear that “these measures will make only the elites able to travel,” suggesting that any increased costs to the aviation industry could be passed down to the consumer. These include the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) , the restriction of emission rights, the application of a tax on kerosene and the possible application of a €7.85 tax on airline tickets.
The Deloitte report suggests that the use of sustainable fuel to meet the 2050 deadline, which is as much as 6 times more expensive than normal fuel, combined with a tax on kerosene and reduced CO2, which will also become more expensive, mean that costs could rise for the consumer – in this case tourists hoping for cheap flights abroad.
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Javier Gándara, president of ALA, explained that “airlines are committed to achieving zero net emissions by 2050 and we are already on the path of decarbonisation.”
“The sector agrees with the environmental measures that contribute to achieving this goal,” he added, “and we are willing to assume an extra cost to the extent that they contribute to the decarbonisation of the sector.”
Gándara did however warn that the measures could have an “impact on the tourism sector,” something he considers “an economic pillar for Spain.”