Although we have already been underway for several months with vaccination plans, the rate of immunization of the population is not as fast as expected. With Easter just around the corner, it is still up in the air what they will be and how the mobility restrictions will be applied. What is expected is that the tourist rental sector in Spain will not return to the way it was in 2021, and some of these changes are likely to become permanent.
With 66% fewer foreign tourists than in 2019, according to Frontur data, and a national tourism marked by the economic crisis and health precautions, 2020 has been a terrible year for tourism quantitatively, and strange from a qualitative point of view.
Fear of contagion, lower purchasing power, curfews … The sector expects that some of the variables in this equation that gave a result to forget in 2020 will disappear in 2021, but is aware that it will take time to regain 2019 activity levels. Some studies already say that, at the very least, this will not arrive until 2024.
The upside is that the desire to travel has not disappearedRather, they have been postponed, which gives hope for a rebound effect like the one experienced by inland tourism in China after the lifting of mobility restrictions.
Rural tourism boom and last minute reservations
For tourist rentals, this scenario has had different consequences, depending on the area, as well as profound changes. While on the coast, more dependent on international tourism, there was a drop in demand last summer, rural tourism rebounded as a safer alternative to the overcrowding of the coastline.
Meanwhile, in Andalusia, Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Community of Madrid and the islands, where more than 80% of the total tourist homes in all of Spain are concentrated, the owners have in many cases opted for convert your properties to long-term rental, a phenomenon that will last in 2021, at least, until the arrival of summer.
In addition to opting for a national and more rural tourism than they usually chose, travelers have gotten used to putting off bookings as long as possible, due to the fear of a negative evolution of health data and possible last minute limitations.
On the other hand, the accommodation in rental homes It has been postulated in 2020 as an option with less contact than hotels, and therefore safer in the eyes of tourists, an undoubtedly positive trend for the sector.
Recovery at various rates
Both professionals and tourists trust in being able to achieve a certain normality, at least from the middle of the year, thanks to the effect of vaccines, with the hope for less mobility restrictions. The recovery of the economic capacity of the demand, however, will be slow, and there are not even certain predictions about when sufficient immunity could be achieved in the population to be able to live with the virus that allows a change of scenery.
Tourist agents and tour operators trust that the activity will begin to regain some verve with the arrival of good weather, especially, with regard to family trips to rural destinations, nature, sun and beach. According to the survey carried out by the consulting firm Interface Tourism, 60% of the nearly 600 operators and agents questioned expect the tourism market to operate normally in the second quarter of 2021.
The estimate is that national tourism will recover much faster than international tourism, which presages another difficult season for tourist rental on the coast. According to the forecast of the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), international flights will not return to pre-Covid-19 levels until at least 2024, if by then the vaccine has already been widely administered among the population. If that vaccine distribution is delayed until 2022, your expectation is that full activity will not recover until 2026.
For 2021, and beyond, experts believe that some trends that appeared in 2020 among tourists will continue, at least temporarily. For example, that of the search for less crowded destinations, and with preference for rent, ahead of hotel accommodation.
They also believe that the psychological footprint that the pandemic has left on travelers will make many choose nearest destinations, and thus postpone international destinations for a while.