Spanish Tourism Sector Facing Its Best Summer In History Predict Travel Experts

Image of tourists on Benidorm beach.

Image of tourists on Benidorm beach. Credit: Mikael Damkier/Shutterstock.com

The Spanish tourism sector is preparing for an unprecedented summer season.

According to data from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the UN agency dedicated to the sector, Spain has already exceeded the values ​​of 2019 by 1 per cent.

A full global recovery of the figures registered prior to the pandemic is not expected to arrive until 2024 or 2025. However, the Mediterranean countries of Southern Europe are dispelling that prediction. The only downside to this factor is the belief that travellers face the most expensive Summer in history.

The level of activity in the sector already surprised professionals over the Easter period. Data show that Spain received 7.2 million tourists in April, 18.5 per cent more than in 2022.

On average, a hotel room exceeded €100. As a result, international visitors spent €8.4 billion, 22.7 per cent more than in 2022 and 20.1 per cent more than in 2019.

Experts predict a bumper Summer in Southern Europe

All forecasts suggest that this growth will be reproduced during the strongest months of the summer season. Experts predict that it will do so despite an economy still touched by the pandemic and world inflation that is still rampant.

This has resulted in everything becoming more expensive – including flights, accommodation, and tourist services.

Tourists seem unable to resist having a dream vacation, despite continuing to witness a war in the heart of Europe and the fact that in 2022 Spanish wages suffered the greatest loss of purchasing power since 1985.

There is no clear explanation for the sudden boom in travel, although experts agree that it is part of the rebound effect produced by the health crisis.

After many months of confinement, saving, and fantasising about that getaway, people are now free to do just that, they suggest.

Although prices have risen, people still travel

Alessandra Priante, the UNWTO director for Europe, commented: ‘Traveling is an intrinsic part of being human. There are more people who did not travel before and who now feel like it. That is why prices have risen, but there has not been a contraction in demand. The planes are expensive, but they are full’, she emphasised.

Experts predict that although this motivation to travel will not diminish, the sector will stabilise in 2024, or at least prices will.

Pablo Díaz, a professor of Economics and Business, specialising in tourism, at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), said that: ‘Prices should be controlled so that coming to Spain continues to be appealing’. ‘The competitiveness of Spain as a destination should not be based on prices, but it is still a decisive factor’, he added.

Tourists might have used up all their pandemic savings

It must also be borne in mind that this travel fever exploded in 2022, the first year without restrictions, and has dragged on since then.

‘Many families have already consumed all or almost all the savings they had collected to travel’, warned Díaz. ‘We will have to see how the market finally behaves’, he suggested.

‘Demand is adapting to the price we are asking, at least for the moment. In some hotels, we have noticed that the rise has been excessive because we braked and people stopped coming’, explained Raúl González, the CEO of Barceló.

‘But for now, the demand responds to the price that you ask”, he pointed out. He said he had noticed a price increase of between 6 per cent and 7 per cent compared to 2022.

‘The question to ask is whether this level of tourism is sustainable’, Priante warned, from an environmental point of view, but also from a financial and social one.

‘Hotels, trains, and planes have lost money. They want to recover it, but they cannot do it at any price. Not going back to the problems of before the pandemic, with serious environmental and social impact’, he insisted.

One solution could be: ‘An intelligent, coordinated, and shared management of tourist flows, which does not necessarily have to go through the restriction of the number of arrivals’, he continued.

‘It would be problematic to limit the transit of tourists in the EU, due to the free movement that is applied, but, you can analyse how many arrive in each country and offer them alternatives’, the expert offered.

Tourists spend an average of €1,172 each

According to the latest data available from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the average expenditure per tourist stands at €1,172, with an annual increase of 3.6 per cent, and the daily average grows 11.6 per cent, up to €173.

Internationally, tourism revenue was one trillion dollars in 2022, 50 per cent more than in 2021, according to the UNWTO. And Europe leads these revenues, with €504 billion collected.

According to the Braintrust consultancy, Spain will receive 85 million visitors in 2023, two million more than in 2019. One last aspect that worries the UNWTO is the difficulty in finding workers, especially among the younger population.

‘Their mentality has changed. Seasonal work is a sacrifice. Before, it was an opportunity to gain experience, now they don’t see it that way’, the experts argue.

The key to winning them back is not just offering them a more dignified salary, but also ‘stable job prospects, because nobody would want to work in a sector if they know that, perhaps, tomorrow it will collapse’, they concluded, as reported by epe.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com

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