The tourism sector indicates that the steep rise in new Covid cases in Spain and fears over the Delta variant are deterring potential tourists
Tourism Alliance Exceltur has reported a dramatic drop in the number of foreign tourists booking trips to Spain in recent weeks due to growing concerns about the spread of the Delta variant and rise in new Covid cases.
Despite a surge in bookings in June, the tourism giant has projected that some €600 million will be lost throughout the summer season due to the new Covid strain, with travellers from the UK, France and Germany being warned by their own governments not to travel to Spain.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Exceltur’s executive vice president, José Luis Zoreda, said that bookings by foreign travellers “have slowed by 15 per cent or 20 per cent in recent weeks.”
This “sudden stop” in reservations means that tourism in Spain in the third quarter will generate €583.7 million less than had been forecasted – 33.9 per cent less than pre-pandemic levels.
According to Sr. Zoreda, the financial losses are caused by “the delay in the start of the arrival of British holidaymakers in Spain until the last ten days of July” and the low uptake on holidays of French, Italian and German tourists “in view of the recent recommendations of their governments, advising against travelling to Spain.”
After a disastrous spring which saw tourism activity in Spain drop to 69 per cent lower than 2019, the end of the state of alarm saw a resurgence of bookings in the summer months, with 12 autonomous communities recording a higher income from tourism than in 2019, according to a BBVA research report published on Tuesday. National tourism spending also surged at the beginning of the summer to beat pre-crisis levels, with Cantabria, Andalucía and the Valencian Community leading the recovery, as Spanish domestic tourists took advantage of the opening-up at the end of the state of emergency to enjoy trips to the coast.
However, fears are growing within the coastal regions of Spain about the large leap in new cases as the accumulated incidence rate rises; Cataluña now has a rate of 1,068 cases per 100,000 of population; Andalucía is reporting 312; Murcia 190 and the Valencia region 384 with the national average 469.
Some regions are already taking action to try and limit the spread of this fifth wave by implementing new restrictions; Valencia has announced new measures this week to enforce earlier closure of the hostelry sector and clampdown on botellón drinking sessions and in Andalucía consideration is being given to potentially closing beaches, parks and cancelling events.
This morning France also announced that it would be tightening its own requirements for travellers from Spain entering France and reiterated its warning to French nationals not to travel to Spain and Portugal.