Considering its pleasant climate, sandy beaches and culturally rich cities, it’s no surprise that Spain is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. As such, the country has come to rely heavily on tourism economically, making it particularly vulnerable to the current crisis.
According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, 14.3 percent of Spain’s GDP was directly or indirectly linked to travel and tourism – the second highest percentage among the world’s top 15 economies. This makes the current situation all the worse, as international tourism came to a standstill in recent months due to travel restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Despite reopening to (some) international tourists on June 21, many of Spain’s larger resorts remain closed, as tourists have cancelled their holidays, feeling uneasy to board a plane or sit in a café with other travelers. With July typically the biggest month in terms of tourist spending, the losses are quickly mounting for the Spanish hospitality sector. In the first five months of 2020, international tourist expenditure amounted to $13.4 billion, down more than $20 billion from the same period in 2019.
With Spain’s high season typically lasting through the middle of October, the country’s hoteliers and restaurant owners will be hoping for a busy fall to salvage some of their income, but as long as the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t fully contained, it seems unlikely that travelers will hit the Spanish shores in droves this year.