Attracting visitors back to Spain will not be easy
Following the news that Spain aims to open up to overseas holidaymakers by late June, travel industry experts offered their view on the current situation:
Spain was the third most visited country in the world last year, welcoming 83.7 million international tourists. According to the experts, that number will drop dramatically to 50.2 million tourists in 2020. This decrease highlights the devastating impact that COVID-19 is having on Spanish tourism and the wider Spanish economy.
There are many factors Spain cannot control. For example, UK officials have suggested potential measures such as all nationals who have been abroad must self-isolate for two weeks on their return. These measures will significantly impact how British tourists travel abroad, which will have a knock-on effect on how quickly the Spanish tourism industry can recover – as 23.7% of Spain’s visitors in 2019 were from the UK, which is Spain’s biggest inbound market.
Spanish transport minister Jose Luis Abalos has stated that the country is planning on welcoming back tourism in late July, however, there are a number of obstacles that stand in the country’s way.
Firstly, holidaymakers thinking of going to Spain will need to be convinced that it is safe. Spain has had the fifth highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, a number that could deter potential visitors. Officials need to put stringent measures in place to reassure visitors that their health is the upmost priority.
Secondly, Spain needs to be affordable. Businesses need to avoid the temptation to raise prices to make up for lost time as holidaymakers will be looking for cheap deals. Offering discounts may just convince sceptical visitors of going on holiday – a similar strategy was successfully adopted post-9/11.