Spain closed the worst tourist summer at least of this century. According to the data released today by the INE, in the summer months 31.5 million fewer tourists arrived international due to the health crisis compared to 2019. In total, only 6.2 million tourists, when that number has exceeded thirty since 2014. This collapse of visitors during the months of June, July, August and September has also been seen influenced in tourist spending. This statistic has collapsed 86% compared to last year, reaching 6,007 million euros. In previous years, spending in summer skyrocketed to beyond 40,000 million euros.
After the months of total confinement, tourism companies faced the summer with some hope of recovering much of what was lost. To do this, they launched a series of sanitary hygienic protocols that will guarantee the safety of the clients. And Pedro Sánchez himself urged Spaniards to “go out and enjoy” the streets. Before the end of June, our country completed the de-escalation process and put an end to the state of alarm. Tourist activity was still in a coma, since for example many hotels could not open when they were during much of the month restricted mobility or because they had ceded their facilities to medicalize them and take in coronavirus patients.
July was the best month of the summer for the sector, although in total 2.4 million tourists arrived, 75% less than a year before. However, at the end of the month the epidemiological situation began to worsen in Spain and the main tourist-emitting countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, announced that everyone who arrived from Spain had to comply with a quarantine. This circumstance stopped the arrival of tourists in August, the month of the year in which the most arrive, to the point of equaling the July data in both visits and spending.
These restrictions were in force in September, when 1.1 million international tourists arrived in our country, 87% less than in the same month of 2019. So far this year, the arrival of tourists has fallen by almost 75%. With regard to spending, this fell in the ninth month of the year by 90%, to 967 million euros, while in the accumulated of the year the fall is more than 75%.
In addition, due to the vetoes of third countries, France supersedes the United Kingdom as the main issuing country, and has now accumulated four consecutive months being the one that sends the most tourists to Spain. Despite this, the Gallic country accumulates a drop of 64.2% so far in 2020. A percentage that could increase at the end of the year due to the confinement decreed by Macron.
The high season of the Canary Islands, in check
Precisely, if there is a region that is watching with concern the new confinements that are being decreed in Europe due to the second wave of the coronavirus, that is the Canary Islands. The archipelago began its high season in October, on which it depends mainly on the British market, and is the only community in our country that has a safe tourist corridor with Germany and the United Kingdom. These events presaged that the islands could recover part of what was lost this year. However, the decisions of the last week by Merkel and Boris Johnson have ruined any slightest hope.
Canarias, which accumulates at this time of year half of the hotel stays in Spain, sees for the second time in a row how its high season fails. Last year it was the bankruptcy of tour operator Thomas Cook that filled it with turbulence and this year it is the health crisis. His heavy dependence on the United Kingdom has weighed down his summer and filled with uncertainty this final stretch of the year. Until September, is the second region with the most visitors -3.2 million, 64% less-, only surpassed by Catalonia, although in the ninth month the islands did not receive even 100,000 visitors.