Spain’s tourist numbers plummet in blighted summer season
Madrid, Sep 1 (efe-epa).- International tourism to Spain collapsed in the first two months of a summer season blighted by travel restrictions and a gradual rebound in coronavirus cases following the end of a draconian lockdown.
In July there was a 75 percent tourist numbers to the country, the second-most visited in the world last year. Tourist spending that month also dropped 79.5 percent compared to the previous year, according to the latest figures from the Spanish national statistics institute (INE) Tuesday.
Between June and July there were 16 million fewer foreign visitors to Spain and a negative balance of 19 billion euros ($22.7B) in tourist spending compared to the same period in 2019
The number of foreign tourists to Spain in the first seven months of 2020, which was interrupted by a severe nationwide order to stay at home between March and June, fell 72.4 percent to just 13.2 million visitors.
June alone saw a 97.7 percent decrease in the number of tourists visiting Spain. The Spanish government opened the country’s borders to European Union nations and the United Kingdom on 25 June and third-party countries on 1 July.
Several weeks later, the UK removed Spain from their travel corridor lists and required anyone returning from the European country to undergo a two-week quarantine.
Neighboring France was the biggest provider of tourists in July, with 587,244 French residents deciding to visit Spain while Germany and the UK, usually the largest exporter of tourists to Spain each year, followed up next with 432,302 and 377,886 respectively.
The Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Valencia were the most popular regions, although all reported a drop in tourist arrivals between 70-81 percent.
There was almost a 90 percent drop in tourists traveling to the capital Madrid, which was a Covid-19 hotspot during the pandemic.
Tourism accounts for some 12.5 percent of Spain’s annual GDP. Cases are on the rise once again in the country after a lull in early summer.
Health authorities logged 41,616 new infections in the week of 17-23 August.
There have been over 29,000 deaths and 460,000 cases since the pandemic began in Spain. EFE-EPA