Tourism in Spain closed July and August with a drop of around 15% compared to the same months of 2019, according to the sales figures registered by Destinia, one of the main online travel agencies operating in the country.
This represents a very significant improvement with respect to what happened in the first six months of the year, when – until May 9 – the state of alarm was in place and restrictions on mobility as consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic were more extreme.
Specifically, the accumulated loss between January and August stands at 38% compared to the same period two years ago.
Ricardo Fernández, general director of Destinia, emphasizes that this summer “is being better than last year” but, he warns, we are still “missing 80 million international clients” in Spain. The improvement in the data is basically supported by domestic tourism. For months, August has been better than July and the agency’s sales have already been around 90% of those recorded in the same month two years ago.
However, in terms of prices, there are still differences in relation to pre-pandemic levels. “In summer, 94% of searches and reservations have been within Spain with slightly cheaper tickers”, explains Fernández, although in August the average price of a hotel room has already been 3% higher than that of the same month of 2019, compared to -7% in June and -9% in July.
In the first eight months, Destinia registers a 29% drop in sales compared to the same period in 2019
At a global level, Destinia accumulates better figures than in Spain. In this sense, in the first eight months it registers a 29% drop in sales compared to the same period in 2019, a percentage that is far from the 55% drop of a year earlier. In 2020, the agency’s worldwide revenues contracted by 50% for the year as a whole and, for 2021, the expectation is to do so with a decline of between 20% and 25%.
“The outlook is good and in the last quarter if there is no regrowth it will be better,” says the Destinia executive, who remarks that “we have been selling more than in 2020 for 16 weeks worldwide.”
Spain has reached in summer around 12% -13% of international visits, compared to 18% that already have markets with a better performance such as Greece. The Hellenic country has received more British and Germans than Spain in the summer in percentage terms. However, in addition to Greece and Portugal, which, according to Destinia data, have had “slightly better” volumes, the Spanish market has, on the contrary, surpassed other holiday destinations such as North Africa, Croatia, France or Italy.
For September, despite the moderation of restrictions on mobility and health measures, the reserves of foreigners who will travel to Spain stood at around 15%, thus improving the level registered so far, with a rebound in demand of the French and the Portuguese.
The return of the English is essential for Spain. In 2019, more than 18 million British tourists arrived. As of October, Fernández points out, the British is already the third issuing market that reserves to travel to Spanish territory, behind the French and Portuguese. A positive development in order to improve the situation of the sector in the last quarter of the year, especially in the Canary Islands.
France and Portugal
Regarding the options of Spaniards, only 6% have opted to enjoy their summer holidays abroad and, for the most part, those who have chosen proximity destinations such as France and Portugal and, to a lesser extent, countries from the Caribbean. Now, with a view to September, the reserves point to a significant increase, raising the percentage to 16%. Of the total, approximately 10 points will be captured by Greece.