We are facing a very serious situation where, in addition to the uncertainty that any type of crisis generates in itself, there are no models that contemplate being able to cope with a scenario such as the current one: a ZERO income scenario, especially in services that are a structural part of GDP generation in developed countries.
All this draws a situation with no other option than to qualify the Covid-19 as the true “Black Swan” of our era. No one in their disaster recovery and business continuity plans could have foreseen a situation where economic activity would go from 100 to 0 in just a few weeks. There are those who warned. But of course, we were on to other things… Bill Gates 2015: “The Next Epidemic: We’re Not Ready” TED.COM/youtube.com
Technology companies face a double and complex dilemma. On the one hand, we cannot assume the complete closing scenario, since it would imply dispensing with the necessary talent to relaunch the activity from the first minute of the recovery. And, on the other hand, we must be at 100% from that very moment. All this, as I said, in the face of a scenario of zero income that is not contemplated in the measures adopted by the Government, neither for the purpose of bearing costs nor for access to all lines of financing.
The estimates of the duration of the state of alarm are temporary and “relatively” short, but with implications of negative multiplier effect on the economy that some analysts already assess, at this time, around 10% of Spanish GDP in 2020. The return to normality will be slow, hard and prolonged, with an uncertain and complex future situation to predict. In reference to tourism, particularly, the aforementioned economic consequences must be added to the domino effect produced by the progressive impact on countries receiving and sending tourists, as well as others of a psychological nature generated in society and which will certainly impact on a reordering of priorities. The direct consequence is that all this will have an impact on prolonging the period of time until we reach a state of normality again, whatever it may be, post-recovery. We think that the realistic scenario is that, at present, the 2020 summer season is very difficult to save. Consequently, it is not alarmist to maintain that the current theatre of operations is one of pure survival.
As a strategic sector, technology companies have an obligation to maintain minimums that ensure maximum availability of systems, ensuring the necessary fluidity for the time of return to normal. In the meantime, we must take care of the closeness with the customer by letting him know that he can count on us now, during and after. If we consider that we are also facing the aforementioned scenario of zero income, the previous paragraph undoubtedly sounds like a paradox (in the best of cases), calling into question any rational approach to good practice. The level of leverage of a large part of the economic fabric in tourism is of the order of 65% in the Balearic Islands, a figure that in the case of the companies of Turistec , a cluster that I have the honour of chairing, is much higher than 80% and reaches 100% in a significant number of them.
At this time, therefore, a maximum approach is required from everyone, the public sector and the private sector, given the way in which shock measures are being considered in the state of alert. I would insist: the reality of the technology companies is that we have a large part of our business supported by the tourism industry, and that we are in a limbo without income ? but without being able to take advantage of legal possibilities to mitigate the cost. I am referring both to the temporary reductions in employment due to force majeure and to access to financing from the lines of funding guaranteed by the Government. And which are limited by the CNAE (National Classification of Economic Activities), which leaves most of us out.
We call for a realistic approach to a sector which, if it loses its productive fabric during this crisis, will find it difficult to recover in time. Many organizations will be doomed to disappear, either by cessation of activity, or victims of speculation by large corporations with enough capital to “gobble up”, literally, what has taken more than 30 years to build in the Balearic Islands, placing us as a reference of ICT Tourism in the world. We must think about the future, however complicated it may be. But short-sighted calculations of any kind will have a negative impact on the ability of companies to carry out their future strategies, which are essential to get out of this tunnel as well prepared as possible.
Today, Spain leads some really tremendous rankings, which seriously discuss our position on the world map because we have not made a maximum approach, but rather short-term calculations which, in my opinion, have led us to a situation which is completely out of control and which, unfortunately, is measured in human lives.
The Covid-19 does not understand names, company sizes or ability to generate profits. It attacks indiscriminately and equalizes us all at the base, moving the foundation of our deepest beliefs. Nothing will be the same after this crisis. The emotional effect is hard to imagine. What is certain is that in everyone’s subconscious the certainty of our tremendous vulnerability will remain forever. And that is something that, in one way or another, will affect our future life plans.
It is the moment to confirm the real weight of values and to verify our true capacity of empathy, responsibility, solidarity, suffering and overcoming, at all levels: personal, professional, public and private.
We cannot and must not forget that beyond the tremendous change that has taken place in our lives, there are people who suffer from the disease, people who die from it and people who work on the streets fighting the pandemic. We owe them our respect, affection and admiration and we must do everything possible to ensure a return to normality, whatever it takes and whatever it costs.
We will get out of this situation, that is certain, and while we do so, we will have learned many existential lessons that will make us stronger, more supportive and aware of our true capacity to overcome.
CEO and co-founder of Dingus and Hitt Group
President of Turistec