The vaccination campaign in the large tourist-issuing markets and the improvement in the health situation has aroused optimism among the Spanish tourism sector, sunk in a depressive climate after thirteen consecutive months of paralysis, which have accumulated millions of losses in the accounts of results from hotels, bars, restaurants, travel agencies and transportation. If last summer (June to September included), Spain only received 6.1 million travelers, the forecast for this year is that the figure will triple to 18 million tourists. Despite this, the arrival of travelers would remain only 50% of the 37 million received in the summer of 2019, in a pre-pandemic scenario.
But Spain is not alone in this competition to attract European travelers, if they were traditionally the most loyal to Spain, now they will be much more, as long as prices and sanitary conditions convince them. Large Spanish destinations will have to compete with Italy, Greece, Cyprus or Malta to attract tourists from the EU eager to travel after more than a year of confinement. Competition from North Africa (Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia or Morocco), which flourished since 2012 thanks to tax and price cuts, will not pose a challenge this year, since the epidemiological situation is significantly worse than in Other European destinations and travel to those destinations will be prohibited or discouraged by the Community authorities. Therefore, the battle to attract European tourism is among those five destinations that will bid to attract the 190 million tourists (less than half of what was received before the pandemic) who are expected to travel in the summer months.
Apart from North Africa and other more distant destinations, such as Turkey, the main battle of these five countries will be, taking advantage of the express processing of the health passport, to attract travelers from those countries where the vaccination process goes much faster than in the EU. This is the case in the United Kingdom, in which more than half of the population already has a first dose of the vaccine and in which herd immunity is expected to be achieved in early summer. The British government is working to install a traffic light with three lights (red, amber and green). In any of them, travelers will have to do, at least, one PCR on the way out and another on the way back. In 2019, Spain received 18 million British travelers, as many as in all of 2020, and the goal is to re-retain them.
The good health situation in Spain may be the main driving force to attract millions of Britons, although the high cost of being clean from the virus (at an average of 100 euros each PCR, the cost for a family of 4 is close to 800 euros) It can lead many people to cancel their trip and choose, as they did in 2020, to stay in their places of origin. The economic problem has been joined by the latest report from the UK health authority, which advises against traveling abroad due to the risk involved in importing new strains of the coronavirus, despite pressure from large tour operators (TUI or Jet 2) and large airlines, eager to reactivate air traffic.
The other major source market is Germany, which must also show in the coming weeks its rules to prohibit or allow mobility to its travelers during the next summer. It will be the European Union that will have to dictate the rules to be followed, although the pressure from the Balearic and Canary Islands has already taken effect and Germany will consider them apart from the rest of Spain. The two autonomous governments are fighting hard to open tourist corridors with Germany and as of May 19 with the United Kingdom, based on the fact that their insularity provides them with a greater capacity to control the virus, since all those who enter and leave the island must pass a PCR test.
Negotiations have accelerated in recent weeks, especially in the case of Germany and the Balearic Islands (50% of their foreign travelers are Germans) thanks to the good epidemiological situation of the archipelago. Despite this, a slight rebound in infections has led it to exceed 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the limit set by the German Government to pass quarantine upon return from the trip, which could discourage many travelers and force the Balearic Executive to raise the restrictions.
EE UU. It will be the largest outbound market for travelers in the world, since the aggressive vaccination campaign will lead it to be the first nation with its entire population immunized. This has led the Community Executive to speed up negotiations so that American tourists vaccinated or with a negative PCR can directly access a European destination, as Greece does. “The Greek exception, to which Spain must join immediately, shows that we cannot continue to accept without question being hostages of the Brussels policy, decided by a group of countries for which tourism does not have a representative weight in their economies, “says Juan Molas, president of the Tourism Board.
Tourist vouchers. Many autonomies have launched tourist bonds to finance and stimulate travel within their region. The desire to travel and the economic crisis have caused an unprecedented reception. The two million euros that the Xunta de Galicia put in, in bonds of 200, 375 or 500 euros (which must be accompanied by a tourist expenditure of 100, 150 or 200 euros) were exhausted in ten hours. Andalusia offers a 25% discount for stays of two nights and up to 50% if they exceed four nights, with a maximum amount of 200 and 500 euros respectively.