MADRID – It is clear that the pandemic has influenced our behaviour forcibly or not. We increasingly do our shopping online and regularly work from home. Holiday needs also appear to be subject to change. Instead of traditional beach destinations, rural tourism is on the rise.
Spain has always been one of the main tourist destinations. According to rental platform Casasrurales.net, at the end of 2019, Spain was the second country to receive the most foreign visitors. The country received 82,773 visitors, after France, which welcomed 89,322 tourists. National tourism also did not fall short that year. No fewer than 173.5 million domestic travellers chose a destination in their own country.
From the beach to inland destinations
Where Spain has always been known as a sun destination because of its almost 5,000 kilometres long coastline with beautiful beaches and a variety of facilities for the tourists who come to visit, an important change is now underway. According to CasaRurales.net, rural tourism in Spain has achieved unprecedented success in 2021.
Cautious upturn in 2020
After the successful year of 2019, the prognosis for the sector could not have been more gloomy with the arrival of the coronavirus and the declaration of the State of Emergency in mid-March 2020. While Spanish tourism accounted for 12.4% of GDP in 2019, it remained in that position. Whereas, in 2020, it was less than 5.5% of GDP. The upturn that followed was mainly based on the government’s little by little release of the restrictive measures and the lifting of international travel restrictions from May 4, 2020.
During that period, the increase of rural tourism started. The demand for rural accommodations was highest. Travellers were able to avoid the crowds here as an important measure to prevent contamination with the coronavirus. This led to more than 10,000 reservation requests for July and August that year. Which made rural accommodations the most requested accommodation.
In the end, 101.5 million trips were booked by Spaniards that year. A number far below that of 2019, but very positive after the low point. The tourism sector saw light at the end of the tunnel again.
At the end of November 2020, rural tourism reached an occupation of almost 140,000 visitors. Of those, more than 92% were from Spanish soil. The most popular destinations were Madrid and the Valencian Community.
Unprecedented 2021 revival
In 2021, the number of overnight stays increased by 57.6% compared to the previous year, to a higher figure than in the same period before the pandemic.
Where is the biggest increase of rural tourism?
The rural destinations that received more visitors based on the availability of the area are Castilla y León, 17.25%, Andalucia, 11.84%, Catalonia, 11.8% and Castilla-La Mancha with 8.13%.
Rural accommodation has now become a holiday option that is not only part of the tourism industry but has also grown and reached an unprecedented high demand.