Tourism in Spain remained far from the levels prior to the coronavirus pandemic in 2021, with a lower turnover of almost 43%, professionals in the sector reported Thursday, expecting a stronger recovery this year.
In total, tourism generated 88.5 billion euros in 2021, according to the Exceltur employers’ association. This figure represents an increase of 36,000 million compared to 2020, although it is still 42.8% lower than that of 2019 (155,000 million). According to the organization’s calculations, the weight of tourism in the Spanish economy thus reached a ceiling of 7.4%. of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), when in 2019 it exceeded 12%, in a record year for tourists in the country.
The resumption of activity, highly anticipated after a catastrophic 2020, was “partial” and “full of ups and downs”, stressed the vice president of Exceltur, José Luis Zoreda.
According to the employers, the activity remained “paralyzed” until May 2021, as a result of sanitary restrictions. Later, during the summer, an increase was registered that would stop again at the end of November due to the explosion of infections that the omicron variant of the coronavirus brought.
Barely 31 million visitors arrived in Spain last year, according to the employers’ organization. This figure is far from the government’s target, which was hoping to attract 45 million people, about half the volume of 2019.
Professionals expect “a complex first quarter” -with a turnover 33% below 2019 levels-, although they foresee “a strong acceleration”.