I work for a Spanish Company so my concern, since months, is to understand how Covid-19 impacted the Tourism Industry. Not only in Spain, I would rather say worldwide as we are in the same situation all over the world. In this post I am focusing on the Spanish Market but other analysis about Italy and Albania will follow. Who made an action plan for 2021 has surely struggled, like me, to figure out what to expect from the next year!
Tourism closes its worst year ever in Spain, with a revenue crash greater than 75%. The public deficit multiplies by 5 and reaches 7.14% in October.
Undoubtedly, the major victims of the closure of the borders are the airlines. The hotel sector closely follows this sad destiny. In 2019 more than 19 million British tourists visited Spain and spent almost 18 million euros. This year Spain lost roughly the 80% of their presence. Globally, the drop in overnight stays was 76% for the domestic market and 91% for the abroad one. 98.3% of the trips had as main destination the national territory, with a decrease of 80.5% compared to the second quarter of last year. Trips abroad, which represent 1.7% of the total, decreased by 96.8%.
The collapse of foreign tourism reduces the bellows to the rebound of GDP in the summer. Falling numbers that casted the whole country to an unprecedented situation, only comparable to the cyphers of the 70’s. Trade and Tourism ask for an economic help 11 times higher than the government agreed to deliver.
300,000 businesses may definitely close.
75,000 the stores that have already closed for good.
Hoteliers warn of the risk of disappearance of a large part of the industry. The trend of reservations in Spain has been the following, so far:
- March -66,5%
- April -100%
- May 99,2%
- June -95,1%
- July -73,4%
- August -64,3%
- September -78,4%
- October -83,3%
- November -72,5%
- December -65,8%
How Covid-19 impacted Spanish Tourism
Since years Barcelona is the first choice for more than 19 millions tourists visiting Spain. By the way, as predictable, it registered a massive loss in revenue this year. According to different sources we go from -82% up to -95%. Mrs. Colau, the mayor of the city, contributed to worsening this situation. She launched a crusade against tourism. Since the very beginning of her tenure she has slowed down the construction of hotels and tourist arrivals. It culminates in the midst of a pandemic with a new tax, a municipal surcharge to the tourist tax. It will begin to be collected from June 2021. Despite this and other restrictive measures, big chains such as Four Seasons, Hyatt, Melià keep their expansion plans. Airbnb is still struggling due to a large number of ads advertising illegal accommodations. Today only 25% of hotels are opened (on 440) but it is already something.
Costa Brava as well is facing a major crisis due to the high amount of seasonal employees of the zone. The towns with the highest increase in food baskets are Roses (53%), Palafrugell (67%) and Lloret (77%). During the summertime the 70% of hotels opened with an average occupancy rate of 50%. Normally, Lloret del Mar is the second Catalan tourist destination after Barcelona, with its 1.400.000 tourists per year. This year, it became the first one, despite the third of its normal occupancy.
Costa Daurada registered a -75% in reservations with an unemployment rate of 20% with 6 points above the Catalan average. The demand for food baskets rises up to 40% in Tarragona.
In the Canary Islands the 13 millions tourists of last year seem a nice souvenir, compared to the 3,4 of this year. The hospitality industry in the island is working hard and is struggling to obtain, at least, 8 millions for the next year. Despite the situation they have registered the highest occupancy rates for Spain.
Disaster in the Balearic islands as well, where the 63% of night establishments are at risk.
COSTA DEL SOL
Costa del Sol passed from the 26 Millions of reservations of last year to the 7 millions of 2020.
Nowadays it is more important than ever to have solid internal tourism. The Spanish have bet this year on domestic tourism, with Catalonia being the favorite destination, followed by Andalusia, the Valencian Community, the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands. Here below follow the forecasts of the experts.
TRAVEL AGENCIES: ACTUAL SITUATION IN SPAIN
Travel agencies warn of the possible closure of 3,000 stores and the loss of 28,000 jobs. 30.9% of the agencies have not been able to keep all the employees they had before the health emergency. 23% of them still maintain them but foresees that soon they will have to make layoffs.
SPANISH AGENCIES FORECASTS FOR:
7 out of 10 national travel agents consider that the reactivation of tourist activity will begin when most of the population is vaccinated. Most of them believe this will not happen until next summer. 84% of those consulted also think that it will be a very slow recovery. Despite the huge stroke to the agencies, the forecasts say that professional advice, security, guarantees and ability to customize travels will be more important than ever in the next future.
TYPE OF TRAVELS
The 70% of the interviewed Spanish travel agents stated that the trips will be “just a little different” with regards to the past. This data is completely in contrast with what stated by Forbes and Condé Nast in these last days. I am more inlcined to agree with the Spanish but time will tell us who was right. The trend for the travels in the future will choose more responsible travels with the environment. There is a very peculiar element in this survey, the increasing need for information about travels and destinations.
TYPE OF TRAVELERS
As per these experts the most important group of travelers in the early stages will be made up of people between the ages of 35 and 50. years old. They will travel as a family and as a couple. In Spanish press I haven’t found any mention of millenials. On this point I rather agree with the International press that points at them as the leading force for tourism.
LENgth OF STAY
The average duration of trips increased by 30.5% in 2020. The estimate of bookings of 5-7 nights but the new trend is surely to book for longer periods in apartments in the countryside or in high standards hotels in the cities.
means of transport
90.0% of trips were made by vehicle and air transport was used in 2.1% of the cases. Despite the offers of Ryanair and other flying companies the fear of contagion is still high. This is how Covid-19 impacted Spanish Tourism and forecasts for 2021. More posts about this subject will follow. Stay tuned!
Sources: INE, ObservaTur, Cinco Días, El País, Expansión, La Vanguardia, Invertia, Ok Diario, El Español.