Rise in tourism


Holiday-makers on ‘staycation’ in Spain are now back to pre-pandemic levels – or even higher – in many regions, and although foreign tourist numbers still have some catching up to do they are on the rise.
National Statistics Institute (INE) figures have just revealed that July tourism – among residents in Spain visiting other parts of the country – was slightly higher than in the same month in 2019, the last ‘normal’ summer for the holiday industry, particularly in the Balearic Islands, Catalunya and Madrid, and with increases of over 100 percent on July 2020 figures in the Balearics, the Canary Islands and the capital.
International visitors remain below numbers from 2019 – which was, in itself, a record year – but are still dramatically higher than for July 2020, according to the INE.
The biggest increases on last year in holidaymakers from abroad have been seen in Madrid, climbing 268 percent, and the Balearic Islands, rising by 223 percent.
Hotel bosses were quoted in the INE report as saying recovery is very slow, but constant and moving in the right direction.
Regions whose tourist numbers among residents in Spain have increased beyond figures seen in July 2019, before the pandemic, are the Balearics (15.6 percent), Catalunya (12 percent), Andalucía (10.3 percent), the Basque Country (9.6 percent), Asturias (7.7 percent), the Comunidad Valenciana (5.3 percent), Galicia (4.2 percent), the Canary Islands (1.7 percent), and Murcia (1 percent).
Effectively, ‘staycation’ tourists have been more numerous since before the pandemic in all of Spain’s coastal regions.
In addition to the soaring numbers of foreign tourists in the Balearic Islands and Madrid in July 2021 compared with July 2020, massive increases have been reported in a handful of coastal regions. The Canary Islands has seen a rise of 154.8 percent in tourists from abroad this July compared with last July; Catalunya, by 133.7 percent; Galicia, by 133 percent; Andalucía, by 120.8 percent; Asturias, by 112.8 percent, and the Comunidad Valenciana by 101 percent.
The aggregate sum of both groups – from abroad and from elsewhere in Spain – remains 41.5 percent below the 2019 total for the Canary Islands and 40 percent in the Balearic Islands.
August’s figures will not be released for a few weeks, but it may be that some of these regions will have closed the gap a little more – the islands in particular rely heavily on the British market, and it was not until 19th July that the UK government announced holidaymakers returning from ‘amber’ countries, of which Spain is one, would be exempt from the 10-day compulsory quarantine if they had been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to travel and their home destination was England.