On February 6th, an interview with the President of ISTO was published by Preferente, where she commented on the current and future situation of the IMSERSO programme in Spain.
Last week, Isabel Novoa - President of ISTO - was interviewed by Preferente - the Spanish tourism media. In the interview, the President expressed her concern about the cancellation of the programme of IMSERSO since March 2020.
Below is an extract from the interview:
The Imserso tourism programme was cancelled in March 2020 and everything seems to indicate that we will have to wait until the end of this year for its resumption. Do you think that discussions should be speeded up so that it can be relaunched this summer season?
Yes, dialogue on all sides is always necessary. ISTO, as an international organisation dedicated to social tourism, will do everything possible to promote this dialogue. There is an urgent need to visualise a hopeful and near horizon for everyone. It is important both for the entrepreneurs and people working in tourism and for the beneficiaries, in this case the elderly, to see that their hard-won social benefits are maintained. As president of the ISTO, I extend the hand of the organisation to collaborate in a dialogue table to prepare the reactivation of the Programme as soon as there is a safe environment for all, working on the modifications and adaptations that are necessary for the Covid and post-Covid stage.
We must be close to the elderly, who are suffering deeply from the effects of this pandemic, not only the risk of the disease, but the isolation that has a direct impact on their wellbeing.
Hotels and travel agencies are calling for the resumption of Imserso trips once the elderly population has been vaccinated. Do you agree?
It would be impossible not to agree. At ISTO we believe that the travel agent is a fundamental part of maintaining the success of social tourism programmes. Proximity and humane treatment are vital not only for social tourism, but for the rest of the sector. Social tourism programmes promote social integration, so in this sense, it seems difficult to visualise a successful outcome without the coordination of all parties and naturally of the travel agencies.
With regard to the hotels, what can I say, they are the core of the success of social programmes, where Spain maintains that closeness in the hospitality, which attracts millions of tourists every year. I live in Switzerland and I see how well they respond to it.
The interview continues with a look at the Spanish and international context. To read the full interview in Spanish, click here.