Barcelona – Viernes, 25/10/2019 | Actualizada 26/10/2019 – 09:33
The immediate past and future, concern three of the most important economic sectors of the city: hotel, catering and commerce, areas closely linked to consumption. Violence is not a friend of consumerism; Uncertainty, either. It’s best to no raise alarm, so all the actors involved speak with low voice or speak little about what happened or what can happen, and its consequences. The week of riots was no obviously not good. Roger Pallarols, director of the Gremi de Restauració, called it a “failed week” or “zero week”, or what is the same: “the revenue would be that of a closing week”.
In trade the damage goes by areas, but all its actors agree on a lower than normal turnover: 30% less on Paseo de Gràcia and between 12 and 15% lower, in the commercial axes grouped in Barcelona Comerç.
Hoteliers are the ones who speak the least, but admit “cancellations, although few,” according to their guild.
“Everything is spread. If the center does not work, the areas that are not so central also notice”
What is to come – endless demonstrations convened – is viewed with concern and caution from all sides. The omens are not the best if the conflict persists, even if it is peaceful: “The abnormality does not help, and we have had already two years of abnormality,” says Pallarols. And although not all neighbourhoods are equally affected, in all there are consequences: “It is evident that someone who has a business in the center is more damaged than the one that has it in Nou Barris, but it is spread, says Word Salva Vendrell, president of Barcelona Comerç. Falling into the temptation to blame the mobilizations for all evils would be too easy. “It is the uncertainty in general, also the one that causes the elections,” he continues. “In electoral periods, trade suffers. The context in general, not only the mobilization, makes the whole sector, whether tourist or not, central or not, note it.” Well, there are demonstrations in sight, but also elections called for November 10.
What all the sectors agree is in appealing to optimism, to the spirit of rapid recovery that the city enjoys to close the chapter on altercations and its derivatives. “If nothing happens again, normality will be quickly established,” the phrase is signed by Lluís Sans, president of the Passeig de Gràcia Association, but most of those consulted endorse it. Sans recalls that in addition to the loss of revenue, the riots have caused a double impact on the premises of the boulevard: “It is not only what we have stopped entering, but also the price of having to fix the facades of the premises.” In the area there were no damages to private but numerous graffiti in buildings whose cleaning must be assumed by their owners. “They are all erased but they will ask for help from the town hall,” says Sans.
“The administrations must be up to par. It cannot be that they move to the street what the politicians are not able to solve”
They did not have the same fate in the area of Urquinaona square, where the damage was much greater. In Koma, its owner explains that the terrace was completely destroyed, and to this adds the losses of three days of closure. The damage is great and the future discouraging, the demonstrations cut the streets and that is not good for any business. In that, all the agents also coincide, even the ones who keep silent. As the shield lived in Via Laietana was one of the problems suffered by the hotels closest to the Police Headquarters. Although its managers close ranks and do not open their mouths, it is easy to intuit that there were customers who did not arrive and others who marched with difficulties, since the vehicles (neither public nor private) did not arrive at the front door or at the rear of these hotels, and the staff could be seen dragging suitcases from the parishioners to Gran Via.
After the riots and waiting for the next few days, merchants, restaurateurs and hoteliers cry out for the dialogue: “It is imperative that public administrations begin to live up to it. It cannot be that they move to the street what they are not able to solve the politicians”. “We ask all administrations to take appropriate measures to promote the dialogue and understanding necessary to prevent such incidents from occurring again.” “The conflict has to be channeled in some way, that continuing on the street entails economic losses throughout the country. We must find a solution. Which? I do not know but it must be within the policy and dialogue, not in the Street”. Pallarols, Manel Casals (director of Gremi d’Hotels) and Sans. Different words, for the same appeal. , for the same plea.