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COVID-19 impact on travel and tourism in Spain - statistics & facts

Mobility restrictions imposed by governments have been one of the major disruptions to people’s daily lives around the world amid the COVID-19 outbreak. With it, travel and tourism, whose essence is determined by the possibility of people to move around freely, has been one of the industries most affected by the crisis.

Though almost no corner of the globe has been left untouched by this situation, countries that rely heavily on the mentioned service sector have undeniably felt a greater impact. Among them is Spain, which by the end of the 2010s ranked as the second most visited country worldwide. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, international tourism in the Iberian country plummeted by more than 70 percent in 2020, when taking into account overnight and same-day visitors. And despite a steady improvement registered in the first half of 2021, the Spanish international tourism segment still has a long way to go to full recovery.

Spanish domestic tourism reduced to a bare minimum

Spain suffered one of the world’s most dramatic crises during the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring months of 2020, which pushed the country’s healthcare system to its limits. For this reason, the Spanish government and the autonomous communities imposed strict quarantines on its inhabitants, allowing them only to leave their homes for essential activities in the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, in March and April of that year, Spain recorded monthly drops in the movements of domestic tourists of 63 percent and 88 percent, respectively. However, as restrictions were lifted for the summer season, domestic tourism volume picked up sharply, reaching a year-over-year difference of only 7.6 percent in August 2020. In the face of the new COVID-19 wave in the fourth quarter of that year, the strong declines in domestic tourism volume were observed again in the Iberian country. However, these were not as striking as the one experienced at the onset of the pandemic.

How is COVID-19 affecting the Spanish tourism economy?

With the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) still present and spreading as of mid-2021, the full impact of the pandemic on the country’s economy is yet to be fully measured. Nonetheless, the first year of the health crisis left clear hints of what the situation means for the travel and tourism industries in Spain. Between April 2020 and March 2021, the Spanish gross domestic product (GDP) lost more than 110 billion euros in inflows from this sector. Meanwhile, over 840 thousand tourism jobs were suspended or canceled, a figure that represented around 30 percent of the country's total tourism employment in 2019.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Impact of COVID-19 on tourism in Spain".


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