Spanish Tourism Returns to Pre-Pandemic

Confirmed bookings for travel to Spain in July and August anticipate “a summer like the ones of yesteryear”, when we look into the international bookings made.

This was highlighted at a presentation of the tourism outlook by the Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and ForwardKeys, Spain’s leading global traveller analytics company.

“The desire to travel to Spain this summer remains unchanged, demonstrating the resilience of our country’s tourism model even in the current context of rising prices. The commitment of national tourists, once again, to domestic destinations, together with the return of international visitors, will guarantee that in 2022 we will experience a summer like those of the past”, said the Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, at the press conference to present the data.

More domestic travel than before the pandemic

This summer, Spaniards will continue to opt for holidays in their own country. Ticket bookings for domestic flights are 3% above 2019 values, with the islands as the most desired destinations, according to the most recent booking data provided by ForwardKeys. Fuerteventura, with a volume of bookings issued 39% higher than in 2019; Ibiza (+33%); Lanzarote (+31%); Santa Cruz de la Palma (+22%) and Malaga (+16%) are the destinations that expect to grow the most with respect to the summer of 2019.

Catalonia, as a whole, also exceeds pre-pandemic bookings, with 9% more tickets purchased than in 2019.

The return of the international tourist

But undoubtedly the element that will make the difference with respect to the summer of 2021 has to do with the definitive recovery of international tourists. Bookings on international flights to Spain reflect an 89% recovery compared to 2019, a year that was a record year for international tourist arrivals.

“Spain expects to regain almost all of its international market this summer. In the absence of the reactivation of long-haul markets such as Asia, still 70% below pre-pandemic values, arrivals from the rest of Europe will recover by 95%, while the American markets continue their advance, reaching 80% of the volume of the same period in 2019. It is worth noting that some of the main source markets will grow strongly, sending more tourists than in the pre-pandemic summer, despite inflation, which continues to be offset by the large amount of frustrated demand,” said Juan A. Gómez García, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys”.

Most recovered major markets

The two main outbound markets for tourists to Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany, show a higher level of bookings than in 2019: 5% higher in the case of the United Kingdom, and +22% in the case of Germany.

The Nordic countries, on the other hand, show the highest growth compared to pre-pandemic countries: +79% for Sweden; +46% from Denmark and +33% from Norway.

Bookings are also above the pre-pandemic level on the other side of the Atlantic. From Mexico, purchases of trips to Spain are 9% higher than in 2019, and from Colombia the increase is 6%. Banknotes issued from the US are close to the values of three years ago, with a recovery level of 96%.

Preferred destinations

The preferred destinations for international tourists are first and foremost the Balearic Islands, which will experience a record summer, according to ForwardKeys data. Tickets issued for international flights to the archipelago are already 10% above 2019 sales. The increase reached 14% in the case of Ibiza and 9% in Palma de Mallorca.

The Valencian Community and Andalusia are close to pre-pandemic levels, with stock recovery rates of 96% and 95%, respectively. In the case of Malaga, the degree of recovery stands at 98%, while Seville and Valencia are at 96% of 2019 levels.

The Community of Madrid and the Basque Country show recovery rates close to the national average, with 87% and 85%, respectively.

Tourist profiles

The bulk of international tourists choosing Spain as their summer holiday destination will come from Europe, as was the case before the pandemic.

The tourist profiles that are showing the most interest in Spain, compared to 2019, are the most affluent travellers, with 25% more bookings for travel in premium cabins than in the pre-pandemic period.

Bookings made by families and small groups (4 to 9 people) travelling together have increased their market share compared to 2019 by 2%, as have those choosing Spain for medium stays (between 4 and 8 nights).

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