The tourism sector already glimpses land. After more than a year of shipwreck in which a good part of the productive fabric of this industry has remained on the wire, this summer it seems that the long-awaited recovery will finally arrive. This is shown by data from travel portals, for example SiteMinder, one of the largest hotel trade platforms in the world. According to their data, on June 26 it was possible to equal the number of reservations that there were on that same date in 2019.
The jump has been spectacular. On May 1, still with many travel restrictions, there were 57% of pre-school reservations, according to SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index. Hence, with the end of the state of alarm, it soared to 87% on June 1. And by the end of this month, the number of sales for 2019 has been exceeded. “Now the global volume of hotel reservations in Spain has exceeded 100% of its 2019 levels, which indicates that it is finally returning to normality prepandemic”, he assures Sara Padrosa, director for Spain of SiteMinder, a portal that manages the electronic commerce of 35,000 hotels in the world, more than 3,000 of them in Spain.
This is a positive data and shows a recovery trend that has been maintained mainly since the end of the state of alarm (on May 9). Of course, this improvement has many nuances. The main one, as recognized by the large hotel companies and employers in the sector, is that reservations are no longer as accurate a thermometer as before the coronavirus. The reason? Due to the covid, the penalties for canceling reservations were eliminated in most cases, which means that sales that are had on a date can fall almost completely in a matter of days. “In this context, everything is much more volatile”, agree several senior managers of the main hotels in Spain.
Another nuance that puts this SiteMinder data into quarantine is that there are still a good number of hotels that have their blinds down. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), in May there were 10,464 establishments open, while in the summer of 2019 there were about 17,000 hotels. Spokespersons for SiteMinder explain that, despite the fact that a good number are still closed, those that are scheduled to reopen in the coming months do accept reservations. In addition, there are many travelers, both national and international, who have planned their vacations for summer although they are waiting for the evolution of the health emergency.
More national tourism
The recovery is being faster in the domestic market than with foreign tourists. In fact, according to those collected by this portal, 69.88% of bookings in Spanish hotels for June are from national travelers, for July they account for 57.81% and for August 55.68%. Only for September, at the end of the summer campaign, there are more bookings made by foreign travelers (they usually plan their vacations in advance) than residents in Spain —62.71% are foreigners. Before the pandemic, the distribution of reserves was almost 50%, a few percentage points higher in the case of foreigners.
This trend almost fully coincides with the expectations of the sector. Already in May they predicted that the recovery of tourism would be gradual and that it would not be until August when the high point would be reached due to the relaxation of restrictions on mobility and the advance of vaccination, especially due to the limitation imposed by the United Kingdom on its residents upon return. Thus, the industry is waiting for foreign tourists, who also register a sustained recovery: according to SiteMinder they have gone from representing 35% of hotel reservations in May to almost 50% for July and August.
“Although the pandemic is far from over and all markets in Europe are managing the impact of travel restrictions and vaccination rates in a particular way, it is very promising to see Spain’s hotel reservations return to pre-pre-levels. the pandemic, since both Spaniards and international travelers are enthusiastically booking their vacations and visits throughout the country ”, ditch Padrosa.