The Government expects a recovery of 90% of pre-pandemic foreign tourism, despite the war

Antonio Ramirez CerezoFOLLOW, CONTINUEMadrid Updated: 04/01/2022 1:59 p.m.

The Government estimates that the impact of the war in Ukraine on the arrival of foreign tourists in the coming months will be minimal, and expects Easter to be very close to pre-pandemic levels. This is how optimistic the Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, was during the presentation of the tourist forecasts for Easter, at a press conference held in conjunction with the Forward Keys platform, which is in charge of preparing the report.

According to this portal, Spain will receive 80% of the foreign tourists received in 2019 in April, while specifying 87% of those received in that same year for Holy Week (between Dolores Friday and Easter Monday), according to the data obtained by ForwardKeys from the issuance of air reservations.

While national air travel is just 1% below, according to this platform.

But the Government celebrates above all the recovery of some key markets such as the United Kingdom (+13% compared to 2019) and Germany (+26%), in addition to the spectacular number of reservations registered from markets of origin such as Denmark (+44 %), Sweden (+39%) and Colombia (+37%), the ones that will grow the most compared to before the pandemic. Despite the good recovery of some intercontinental markets, the ministry has remarked that the increase in reserves comes mainly from neighboring markets, while the long haul continues at half gas. In fact, 26% fewer US visitors are still expected during the Easter period compared to 2019.

In any case, these figures correspond to those obtained from hotel reservations of at least one night until March 25, and until March 21 in the case of seats sold by airlines. “You have to be cautious and see how the war evolves and its possible consequences for travel and prices. The uncertainty no longer comes from the pandemic, but from the conflict in Ukraine," the Secretary of State for Tourism warned.

Because Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues to fuel tourist concern about possible unforeseen events, continuing the trend seen since the beginning of the pandemic of increasing reservations at short notice or at the last minute. According to the head of market intelligence at ForwardKeys, Juan Antonio Gómez García, most of the reservations are arriving 30 or 40 days in advance, still for fear of possible consequences of Covid-19 and the war.

uneven recovery

In any case, the recovery of the sector continues to be uneven among Spanish destinations. In fact, the Balearic Islands is the only community that will receive more tourists at Easter than in the same period of 2019, according to the Government, specifically, 14% more. Although the Canary Islands and Valencia with 3% fewer foreign visitors compared to before the health crisis, they will remain close to recovering.

As for cities, Ibiza (+34%), Palma (+12%) and Tenerife (+7%), are the ones that show the best level of reservations. In fact, although airlines have scheduled only 7% fewer seats for international flights to Spain for this period than in 2019, Ibiza (+16%), Tenerife (+11%) and Palma (+3%) will have more seats than in times before the pandemic, in addition to Fuerteventura (+17%), according to the platform.

From ForwardKeys, they also highlight that Spain appears among the five most recovered destinations in the world compared to pre-pandemic levels, only surpassed by the Dominican Republic, which gains 12%; Mexico, which does so by 5%, and Greece, which drops by 11%, two points less than Spain.

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