Fifty crisis-hit families to get free holidays

A Benidorm hotel chain will pay for the holiday accommodation of fifty Spanish families who have been badly affected by the crisis as a gesture of 'social responsibility'.

Fifty crisis-hit families to get free holidays
Families suffering long-term unemployment or eviction will enjoy a free break. Photo:

The Magic Costa Blanca group of hotels, based in Benidorm, has decided to put a smile on the face of fifty Spanish families this summer by giving them free holiday accommodation, reports local daily Información.

With many families unable to take a break this year because of restrictive financial circumstances, the hotel group has offered to help some of those suffering from the effects of long-term unemployment, evictions or other consequences of the crisis.

The company has offered a number of promotions over the years, such as discounts and flexible payment options,  to support what it calls "the right of every Spaniard to enjoy a holiday" but it has now decided to go one step further.

The selection process will be carried out via a website that the company will activate in the next few days.

Interested families can explain why they believe they should receive the free accommodation in one of the chain's hotels in the autonomous community of Valencia.

The initiative is part of the social responsibility concept that the company has developed in response to the crisis.

Magic Costa Blanca vice-president Javier Garcia described it as "necessary" that companies now place themselves on the side of the disadvantaged, saying "In these lean times we all sometimes need a shoulder to lean on."

He added: "At Magic we are very sensitive to the situation of families who are being evicted, who have members unemployed or who are suffering from other effects of the crisis."

"Because of this, and in line with our belief that holidays are a right not a privilege, we want to make this gesture to fifty Spanish families."

The company has urged other hotel chains to follow its lead to be able to help as many families as possible.

"We call on all tourism businesses in the country to join our initiative," said Garcia, "and give free holidays to disadvantaged families."

"Together we can do it."

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Unemployment in Spain hits four million for first time since 2016

The number of people in Spain registered as unemployed surpassed four million for the first time in five years in February, government figures showed Tuesday, as pandemic restrictions hit the country's tourism-dependent economy.

Unemployment in Spain hits four million for first time since 2016
Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Jobless claims rose by nearly 45,000 last month over last month to hit 4,008,789, the labour ministry said, the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

The rise is due to the impact of “severe restrictions imposed to combat the third wave of the pandemic,” the ministry said in a statement.

The last time the number of jobless in Spain rose above four million was in April 2016.

Spain’s regional governments, which are responsible for health, have imposed various measures to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including shutting down bars and restaurants and nightly curfews which have hit the hospitality sector hard.

A broader, quarterly household survey by the national statistics institute INE provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 3.7 million or 16.1 percent at the end of December.

Both the labour ministry and the INE figures do not include the roughly 755,000 people benefitting from a government coronavirus furlough scheme as of the end of last year.

The Spanish government says it has spent €40 billion ($48 billion) since the start of the pandemic to finance the furlough scheme and help the self-employed.

Spain’s economy contracted by 11 percent in 2020, one of the worst performers in the eurozone, with its key tourism sector battered by the