Spain is among the world’s most sought-after destinations for tourists this Easter, according to the presentation of travel forecasts to Spain by the Ministry of Industry,
“The year 2022 has begun with a sustained recovery in tourism as shown by the hotel occupancy survey data with 24.1 million overnight stays between January and February, 72% of the pre-pandemic level or the employment data which recorded in February an increase of more than 300,000 affiliates compared to its level in 2021. A positive evolution despite the uncertainty generated by the omicron variant that occurs because Spain is perceived in our main markets as a safe destination due to the high vaccination rate of the population” said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto.
The head of tourism also referred to the consequences of Putin’s war and the Response Plan approved by the Government, which will mobilise 16,000 million euros in public aid, a plan that aims to reduce the cost of energy, help the most affected companies and groups and generate confidence in the Spanish economy: “Although all sectors are affected by the uncertainty of the war, including the tourism sector, according to our forecasts, in April we can recover between 80% of the international tourists we had in 2019. However, we must be cautious as the evolution in the coming months will depend on the duration of the war and how it may affect travel confidence”.
Maroto also highlighted that the Ministry continues with the deployment of the Tourism Modernisation and Competitiveness Plan financed with Next Generation funds and announced that today the extraordinary call for 2022 Tourism Sustainability Plans in destinations opens with 720 million euros. The aim of the programme is to advance the transformation of tourist destinations towards a model based on environmental, socio-economic and territorial sustainability.
Taking into account the geopolitical situation caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the uneven pace of recovery of destinations in the world, Spain is well-positioned for Easter, being one of the most recovered global destinations in terms of international arrivals.
The latest ForwardKeys air booking data for international arrivals to Spain at Easter paints an optimistic picture. Air arrivals from abroad to Spain are forecast just 13% below Easter 2019 values, while domestic air travel is on par with pre-pandemic values, just 1% below.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a great deal of frustrated demand, which has translated into renewed interest from travellers whenever restrictions allowed travel again; in this new phase of the pandemic, Spain is rapidly recovering to close to pre-crisis values. This Easter we expect traditional source markets such as the UK and Germany to exceed pre-pandemic levels of arrivals,” said Juan A. Gómez García, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys.
Most recovered main markets
The most recovered top outbound markets travelling to Spain this Easter include Denmark (+44%), Sweden (+39%) and Colombia (+37%), followed by Germany (+26%) and the UK (+13%), all exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Favourite destinations for foreign travellers will be the Balearic Islands (+14%), Canary Islands (-3%) and Comunidad Valenciana (-3%), with Ibiza (+34%), Palma (+12%) and Tenerife (+7%) topping the ranking of Spanish cities with the most travellers recovering, all growing compared to 2019.
“We do not yet expect things to be as they were before the pandemic, but some markets are clearly exceeding our initial expectations. Our data also shows that length of stay has increased slightly and that groups of 3-5 people will increase their market share as opposed to couples and large groups,” adds Gómez.
Airlines have scheduled only 7% fewer seats for international flights to Spain for the holiday period than at the same time in 2019. Some destinations such as Fuerteventura (+17%), Ibiza (+16%), Tenerife (+11%) and Palma (+3%) will have more seats than in pre-pandemic times.
Outlook for the second quarter and summer season
Spain is proving to be very resilient and remains one of the preferred travel destinations in the second quarter and also during the summer according to the latest data. When looking at future bookings for the remainder of Q2 compared to 2019, Spain is 22% down, on par with key neighbouring destinations.
“This is really encouraging, as a trend we have observed during the pandemic is that travellers are booking more at the last minute, so this figure could improve considerably,” according to Juan A. Gomez.
“In addition, demand is being driven by an increase in airline seat supply, as scheduled seat capacity for the second quarter is 5% below 2019 levels, with some destinations such as Tenerife (+14%) and Palma (+4%) above the same period in 2019,” adds Gómez.
Easter will be the key period to consolidate the recovery of the sector in Spain, which we expect to continue into the summer. “The data for the summer season could not be more encouraging, with 197% more bookings for international arrivals between June and August than at the same time last year,” says Gómez.