MADRID – Spain is a world reference for tourism and proof of this is that the tourism industry has been one of the main economic engines of the country in recent years. However, that claim was only valid until Covid-19 broke out.
This caused the biggest setback this sector has ever experienced. After almost two years with a succession of restrictive measures and (semi-)lockdowns, it is easy to see what the real impact on the Spanish tourism industry has been. Tourism activity went from 12% of GDP in 2019 to 5% in the year of the pandemic, 7 points less than before the pandemic. Seven points drop from a record year
Numbers far from those in 2019
The National Statistical Institute (INE) produces the annual report ‘Satellite of the Tourism Industry of Spain (CSTE)‘. It contains the most important information about tourist activities. According to this report, the weight of the tourism industry in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), measured by final tourist demand in 2020, was 61.4 billion euros. This figure represents 5.5% of the total national GDP. The numbers are far from those in 2019. This was the record year in which tourism contributed 154.74 billion, (12.4% of the total).
2021 is expected to be slightly better than last year
It will still be a long time before 2021 data is available. However, reports from the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE) indicate that in the best-case scenario, tourism is expected to contribute between €66.44 and €77.27 billion. These are figures that will be slightly above those of 2020 but are still very far from those of 2019. For their part, the economic branches typical of tourism provided 2.23 million jobs in 2020 (11.8% of total employment in the economy).
The economic sectors typical of tourism provided 2.23 million jobs in 2020. That is 11.8% of total employment in the economy. That falls far short of the 2.68 million jobs in 2019 when the sector still accounted for 12.7% of the total number of jobs.
Role of ERTE
However, the temporary redundancy schemes ERTE play a fundamental role in this. Employees who were laid off under this scheme still belong to the category ‘working people’. As such, they add to the total number of workers in the sector. They get their position back as soon as the ERTE scheme has been completed.
The largest weighting component in domestic tourism consumption in 2020 was inbound tourist expenditure. This accounted for 35.9% of the total, while final tourism-related demand fell by 57.7% in 2020 in terms of volume.