Spanish tourism sector closes worst half-year ever

by Deborah Cater
Spanish tourism sector records worst half-year results ever

In the first six months of this year, 5.4 million foreign tourists came to Spain. In the first half of 2020 there were twice as many. These are numbers that are in stark contrast to the 38 million visitors from the first half of 2019. It is the worst half-year result the Spanish tourism sector has ever had.

This is according to the latest data published by the Spanish statistical office INE. In this first half, tourists also spent half the amount (€5.76 billion ) compared to the first six months of last year. That is 85% less than the same period in 2019. In all of 2020, the country recorded its lowest foreign tourists figures in the past 50 years. In fact, the first half of 2021 is the worst for the past hundred years.

Positive trend

However, if you look at the numbers per month, a positive trend can be observed. In the month of June, Spain welcomed 2.2 million foreign tourists, which was almost double the number in May and an increase of 984.7% compared to June 2020. A full recovery is certainly not yet in sight, because in June 2019 8.8 million foreign tourists came to Spain. That is more than one and a half times as many as the number of tourists in the entire first half of the year.

Data on the number of hotel stays in the first six months also contrasts sharply with the data from 2019. Only the increase in national tourism in the first half of the year has given this sector hope. A total of 51.7 million overnight stays were booked in this period, which is almost 74% less than in the comparable period of 2019.

Most tourists from Germany and France

Most foreign tourists in Spain this year came from France (1.187 million) and Germany (1.169 million). Travellers from England, the main market for the tourism sector, stayed away until May due to the travel restrictions imposed by the British government. No more than 273,333 British tourists came to Spain in the past six months. Since returning vaccinated travellers no longer had to quarantine from mid-July, the number of travellers from England has increased significantly.

In that regard, the sector is holding its breath as the British government will once again decide the conditions for travel from England to the rest of Europe this week. Hoever, the ECDC did place Spain in its dark red zone this week.

Looking only at the month of June, the most tourists came from Germany (500,010), closely followed by France (438,560). This is followed by tourists from the Netherlands (147,312) and England (142,507). On average, tourists spent €1,090 per person, with a daily average of €147. That is about the same as in peak year 2019.

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