Queen Letizia held a video conference today with the Directors and employers of the Student Residence to find out how this cultural research institution has adapted to the situation caused by COVID-19.
In the video call, they have explained that they assume the situation as an unprecedented challenge to turn it into an opportunity to advance in the reflection on what changes we are experiencing and that will probably be accelerated by the current crisis. In addition, the Student Residence must understand the conditions that these changes impose on its work as an institution of memory and a centre for the creation of culture.
To begin with, the residential activity of students and researchers has been paralyzed and they have been forced to suspend all face-to-face public activities and to convert all the personnel in charge of research, recovery of historical heritage, design, planning and carrying out cultural and scientific programs, publications, etc.
The Residence has put in place an infrastructure that allows remote access to the information and services that these activities require for all the personnel concerned. For their part, the fellows, a brilliant group of young scientists and creators who are permanent residents of the house, have continued to develop the projects for which they were chosen and to disseminate their results.
Then Felipe and Letizia held a video conference with the representatives of the hospitality sector, one of the most seriously affected by the consequences of the current health crisis as they practically have been out of the work for the last many weeks.
Hospitality and tourism are among the main engines of economic and social development in Spain. The hospitality sector is made up of more than 300,000 establishments, including bars, restaurants, cafes, communities, nightlife venues and accommodation, which employ 1.7 million workers, representing 8.7% of total employment of Spain (the third national industry) and 64% of tourist employment. Hospitality represents a notable contribution to the generation of national GDP, representing 6.2%, with a turnover of 123,612 million euros.
It is a very fragmented sector with many small businesses. 70% corresponds to self-employed workers and companies with less than three employees. It operates with very low-profit margins. According to a study carried out by E&Y and Bain, after the end of the crisis, there could be a drop of around 15% in the volume of establishments, so there may be around 40,000 companies with serious survival difficulties. The effects of the pandemic could also cause a drop in the annual turnover of the Spanish hospitality sector of around 40% in the whole of 2020, which can mean a loss of up to 55,000 million euros.
With a strong impact also on employment with up to 680,000 jobs affected at the most critical moments of the process and a definitive structural loss of more than 200,000 jobs. These substantial reductions in both the sector’s billing and employment levels would also have a significant impact on public accounts, with a decrease in VAT collection of around € 5 billion, and support social costs people who lose their jobs could amount to up to 3,500 million euros added to the fall in contributions to Social Security. These impact forecasts would occur in the event of a closure of up to three months, so inactivity for a longer time could have worse consequences.
For the day, Letizia wore her grey Hugo Boss Jalorra Blazer in Glen Check Prince of Wales Print with blue top. She paired the outfit with her floral studs and Karen Hallam ring.