“If the UK didn’t open until the end of June it would be a disaster. Opening in May allows you to save the season ”, assures the Alicante hotel association
When do the British land in Spain again? The United Kingdom will clear up that unknown in approximately 72 hours, which has the tourism sector of our country in suspense. “We are hopeful, but we have to be prudent,” says Victoria Puche by phone. The president of the Provincial Association of Hotels of Alicante (APHA) trusts that “In mid-May the British can finally travel”.
The hoteliers of our country cling to May to try to fly back. “This Easter we have only had domestic tourism and the forecasts have been met, but domestic tourism gives what it does,” explains Puche. “We have reached an occupancy of 35% in Alicante and 70% on the beach, it has given us air and has shown that there is a desire to return to travel,” remarks the president of APHA but adds: “We need to recover international tourism.”
But, What would it mean to delay the reopening even further? “If the UK didn’t open until the end of June it would be a disaster. Opening in May allows you to save the season ”, defends Puche.
But the British should not be too confident by now that they will be able to travel next month. 58% of their searches to come to Spain are concentrated in the months of July, August and September, 20 points more than a week ago, according to the Destinia reservation portal. May barely represents 9%.
“All it takes to lose a month and a half is a long time. We’re very hungry. This is like the one that comes out of the desert ”, sums up Toni Mayor, president of the Valencian Community hotel association (Hosbec).
British travelers are the biggest clients of tourism in Spain. In 2019, the 18 million visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for 23% of the total number of tourists received and spent close to 18,000 million euros.
The British traffic light
But if it is important when the United Kingdom will allow its citizens to travel, it is even more important how and where they will be able to leave the country. Because the British Government plans to implement a traffic light system that classifies countries based on the risk of contracting COVID if it is visited. A) Yes, countries will be classified as green, amber or red risk. Only those that are in green will be freed from quarantines.
“Right now we have an infection rate in the Valencian Community that would allow us to be green”, defends the president of Hosbec. In any case according to Mayor, “It will once again be a last minute summer, in terms of reservations. People until the last moment are not going to make plans. I think we can save the summer season, at least half. Although we are going to see how we get out, because there are many ERTE and layoffs, we will have to see how the demand remains ”.
Less than a month ago, the Bank of Spain estimated that 15 million tourists would arrive in our country this summer, half (50%) of a normal year without a pandemic. Somewhat more negative are forecasts of the independent fiscal responsibility authority (AIReF): this summer it expects that at most 40% of international tourists who came before the pandemic will arrive. By the end of December, AIReF estimates that the sector will have recovered 65% of tourists. Full normalization is expected in 2022.
The sector hopes to change the trend soon after 12 consecutive months with very negative data. In February, just 284,311 international tourists landed in Spain, according to the INE. A collapse close to 94% compared to 2020.