The summer of 2021 has marked a before and after for the tourism sector. Still with very depleted data, the industry reversed the trend and began its recovery. Without throwing the bells to the flight, because it has not yet left the tunnel, but it has at least doubled the number of international tourist arrivals registered in the summer of 2020. Between June and August, Spain received 11.8 million foreign visitors, as published this Monday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). It is 131% more than in the same period last year. That figure, however, must be put into context: if compared to 2019, before the pandemic, the drop is 59%. On the spending side, the gap is the same, which translates into revenues of 13,550 million, almost 20,000 less than in the last precovid summer.
The monthly evolution invites optimism. In June, the arrival figures of international tourists accounted for only 25% of those recorded in 2019. In July the improvement was notable and was almost 45%. And in August this recovery reached 51% compared to the figure of two summers ago. “These data consolidate the trend of recovery in international tourism and confirm that Spain is perceived as a safe destination,” said the Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, in a statement. The expenditure made by travelers follows a recovery along the same lines: the higher the volume of tourists, the higher the turnover.
These data, as well as the complete recovery of the national market, lead the main players in the sector to be more optimistic than just a few months ago. Although still cautious, since if you look at the accumulated for the year the figures are still very low. In the first semester, with coronavirus infections still on the rise and mass vaccination in process, there was a sinkhole that was difficult to overcome. Between January and August, Spain has received 15 million tourists. That is, 4.21% less than a year ago (January and February 2020 was before the pandemic) and 74% less than in 2019. A still very important gap.
On the expense side, this time there are some differences. The main one, that so far this year the income from the same period last year has been exceeded (16,900 million, 0.71% more thanks to higher spending per tourist). However, if compared with the data from two years ago, the difference is just as considerable: 73.5% lower.
France, main source market
Among the main tourist fishing grounds, France remains the one that contributes the most, a leadership that it achieved after the resumption of travel after the stoppage a year and a half ago due to the coronavirus. Between January and August, about 3.4 million visitors from the neighboring country arrived in Spain, 16% more than the same period last year. It is followed by Germany, with almost 2.6 million, 24% more than in the first eight months of 2020.
The United Kingdom, which has traditionally been the major source market, lags behind so far this year (it has contributed 1.5 million travelers). This is due to the harsh restrictions during the first half of the year by the British Executive, which banned travel outside the islands to control coronavirus infections.
If you look only at the data for August, France is also the largest fishing ground for travelers, with almost 1.3 million tourists (a quarter of total arrivals). In this case, the United Kingdom is in second position with 714,668 visitors, followed by Germany (677,599 tourists).
Balearic Islands, the most visited
By autonomous community of destination, the Balearic Islands have been the most visited by foreign tourists in the summer: between June and August it received almost 3.3 million travelers. It is followed by Catalonia with almost 2.3 million and the Valencian Community (1.6 million).
If you look at the accumulated for the year, between January and August, the Balearic Islands is also the region that receives the most tourists (almost 3.9 million visitors), thanks to its good summer season. Catalonia, with 2.8 million, is the second autonomous region most chosen by foreign travelers. After them, the Valencian Community and Andalusia are almost tied with just over 1.9 million visitors.