The first six months of 2021 for tourism have been no better than 2020, which was the worst year in history for the sector. In the first semester, five million fewer tourists have come to our country and there have been entered 6,000 million euros less than last year, according to INE data. It is true that the first two months of 2020 were normal and especially good, while in April and May there was no activity due to the closing of borders. In 2021, the harsh restrictions during the first quarter have taken their toll, with falls of 90% in both arrivals and spending. With respect to 2019, the falls in both statistics are more pronounced with 33 million fewer tourists and 34,000 million less spending.
The situation continues to be one of uncertainty, although it is hoped that the advance in vaccination will improve it. The key will be what the United Kingdom decides this week, which could once again tighten restrictions, as happened in June and much of July. Even so, in the sixth month of this year some rebound has been glimpsed. Specific, 2.2 million tourists have arrived international companies, 62% more than in May, although still 75% less than in the same month of 2019. Regarding spending, 2,416 million euros were entered, 73% more than in the previous month, but 75% less than 2019. From the sector it is expected that the outlook will improve over the months.
The first objective of the tourism sector is to recover between 40 and 50% of the levels registered in the summer of 2019. This would rebound the economic activity of the country and serve as traction for the last quarter of the year. For this, the sector points out the importance of recovering international tourism. In fact, this year it is once again the national tourism that pulls the car of the sector and, as reported by ABC,
already spends even more than in 2019. However, this domestic impulse is not enough to lift the first sector of the Spanish economy.
The Government estimated that some 17 million tourists would arrive this summer, a forecast very exposed to the recommendations of third countries. We will still have to wait a few months to know if the forecasts are fulfilled or not. But it is significant that the sector is increasing its employment levels, according to today’s data from the Ministry of Social Security. Even so, it still has a way to go to reach pre-pandemic levels.
The delta variant caused the United Kingdom to tighten the conditions for travel to Spain. Thus, what is usually the first country of origin of tourists has ranked fourth in terms of number of arrivals during June. Germany emerged as the main issuing country, with 500,010 tourists, representing 22.6% of the total. In terms of spending, Germany was also the first country, with 554 million euros. A circumstance that has been especially noted in the Balearic Islands, the main destination of the Germans. The Balearic archipelago was the region that received the most tourists, 656,082, of which more than 319,000 were Germans, and the one that entered the most, 737 million euros, more than 30% of the total.
In second place in terms of visits and spending is France, with 438,560 visitors and 301 million euros. Despite being in this second place, in the accumulated of the year, and as it already happened in all of 2020, the Gallic country is the one that more tourists have contributed and the one who has spent the most. Despite this, it is far from the 2019 levels.
By regions, Catalonia was the second that received the most tourists in June, 404,172, thanks to the French, while Andalusia was third with 296,044. In tourism spending, both occupy the same positions, with 334 and 304 million euros of income. Due to the low level of income in June 2020, all regions have improved in this item. In the accumulated of the first six months of 2021, the communities that receive the most tourists are the Balearic Islands, with almost 1.3 million, Catalonia, with 975,016 tourists, and the Canary Islands, with more than 753,000. Regarding spending, the Balearic Islands have entered 23.4% of the total for the year, the Canary Islands 18% and Catalonia 15%.