Spanish Tourism recovery in Barcelona not expected anytime soon despite lockdown ease

Image - Ayuntamiento de Mijas

The tourist sector in Barcelona is still not seeing any signs of recovery despite emergency lockdown restrictions being eased recently.

THE tourism sector accounts for 12 per cent of Catalonia’s GDP – last year, 19.3 million international people visited the country, spending €21 billion, over one-fifth of the Spanish overall. After losing the business in Easter and probably summer, the sector is hopeful to begin recovering with the lockdown ease, but a significant return to business is not expected anytime soon.

No business despite the move to Phase 1

Hotels and tourist apartments of three health regions in Catalonia will be able open from today, those in the Tarragona area and the Ebre river region – yet, most of those are reportedly not thinking of opening, the reason is they believe it is not worth it.

Campsites In Tarragona like this in Las Palmeras are opening again but do not expect many visitors.

Just a handful of campsites in the Tarragona and Ebre areas, such as La Torre del Sol (Mont-Roig del Camp) and El Templo del Sol (Vandellòs) will open. The campsite Trillas Platja (Tamarit) will also open to offer ‘an open-air space, nature, and beach without crowds to break away.’

Girona, hopeful to welcome French tourists soon

In the rest of Catalonia, Phase 0 will continue, meaning hotel and tourism activity is still banned – so there is no business on the horizon for the Barcelona area and coast.

It is the same for central Catalonia – in the Igualada area, there is especially a concern for a possible stigma that may hamper its recovery for having been the region of the country’s biggest Covid-19 cluster.

In Girona, in northern Catalonia, they are already eyeing June, regardless of the potential phase changes beforehand. They are especially hopeful that France and Spain open their borders by then and that some French tourists go to the Girona region and Costa Brava.

Barcelona: recovery in 2022 or 2023

In Barcelona, hotels are only taking bookings from business trips, and they continue getting ready for when lockdown conditions ease. The association of hotels (Gremi d’Hotelers) said that they only expect international tourists to return from September or October, but that figures for 2018 and 2019 will only be achieved in 2022 or 2023. That sector alone bills some €140 million every month.

Tourist apartments, whose 90 per cent of business comes from international travellers fair no better. Now hundreds of Airbnb apartments are empty, and some owners are trying to transform them into short-let flats.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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