Spain’s tourist numbers plummet in blighted summer season

International tourism to Spain collapsed in the first two months of a summer season blighted by travel restrictions and a gradual rebound in COVID-19 cases following the end of a strict lockdown.

Between June and July there were 16 million fewer foreign visitors to Spain and a negative balance of €19 billion in tourist spending compared to the same period in 2019, according to the latest figures from the Spanish national statistics institute (INE), EFE reported.

In the first seven months of 2020, the number of foreign tourists to Spain dropped by 72.4%, meaning the country only welcomed 13.7 million visitors in that period.

June alone saw a 97.7% decrease in the number of tourists visiting Spain as the country’s borders only opened to travellers from other EU member states and the UK on 25 June and to third states on 1 July.

Several weeks later, the UK removed Spain from their travel corridor lists and required anyone returning from a EU member state to undergo a two-week quarantine.

Neighbouring France was the biggest provider of tourists in July, with 587,244 French residents deciding to visit Spain, followed by tourists from Germany (432,302) and the UK (377,886), though Germans and Britons usually travelled the most to Spain.

The Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Valencia were the most popular regions, although all reported a drop in tourist arrivals between 70-81 percent. When it comes to the capital Madrid, which was a COVID-19 hotspot during the pandemic, there was an almost 90% drop in tourists.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise once again in the country after a lull in early summer, as health authorities logged 41,616 new infections in the week of 17-23 August. Since the start of pandemic, Spain recorded 460,000 COVID-19 cases and 29,000 related deaths.

(Jake Threadgould, EFE/EPA)

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