The relaxation of restrictions by the United Kingdom multiplies by four the reservations of flights of the British to Spain compared to last week. From today, all citizens of the British country who come to Spain are exempt from quarantine when they return to their country, if they have the complete vaccination schedule. A measure that they celebrate from the tourism sector, very much in need of the income generated by international tourists.
Despite the spectacularity of this 400% growth, the president of the airline association (ALA), Javier Gándara, recalls that it was starting from a “very low base.” And is that if before the pandemic from spring to autumn between one and two million Britons arrived a month, that number has fallen drastically. For example, in May, the latest data available only came from 51,155. Therefore, from the tourism sector they point out that there is still a way to go to re-register the numbers prior to the pandemic.
Gándara also explains that “the uncertainty remains maximum, since the restrictions may return.” In fact, the United Kingdom itself put the Balearic Islands on the green list of its Covid traffic light and weeks later it returned it to the amber list, like the whole of Spain. From the tourism sector, this relaxation of the United Kingdom measures is expected to be definitive, despite the increase in infections in the British country.
The arrival of international tourists is very important for the engine of the Spanish economy. As the Vice President of Exceltur, José Luis Zoreda, indicated last week, “the speed of Spain’s economic recovery depends on the recovery of tourism.” Thus, vaccination rates are vital for tourist activity to reestablish little by little and “begin a slow but sustained recovery,” says Gándara.
A million in a month and a half
The Government’s forecasts are that half of the tourists registered in 2019 will be reached this summer. A somewhat optimistic forecast after the restrictions and negative recommendations from third countries when traveling to Spain. In this sense, the return of British tourists is the best news for Spain, since traditionally the United Kingdom is the main source of tourists. If Boris Johnson’s measures are maintained, our country could receive around one million British tourists until the end of August.
The more touristy autonomous communities also welcome the end of the UK restrictions. Thus, the regions most dependent on international tourism, and especially British, such as the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Andalusia, the Valencian Community and Catalonia are preparing to receive these tourists.
Even so, it must be remembered that once again it will be the Spanish who pull the tourism sector in the summer months. In fact, Spaniards already spend more than in 2019, as reported by ABC. This recovery of this indicator, however, does not make it possible to compensate for the losses caused by international tourism. A fact that causes tourism to still remain halfway to the data recorded in 2019 and that full recovery does not arrive, a priori, until mid-2022.