MADRID – Spain lost 8 million tourists and €8 billion in May

The tourist sector, a mainstay of the Spanish economy, took a huge hit in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country lost a total of 8 million tourists and more than €8.1 billion in May, according to fresh stats published on Thursday (2 July) by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

In April (the most critical phase of the pandemic) and May, Spain lost more than 15 million tourists. As tourists spend an average of €1,000 per person in the country, the total loss over the two months has been estimated at around €15 billion.

The sector, which represents around 14% of Spain’s GDP, employing 2.8 million workers, and driving €176 billion of income per year, according to 2019 data published by the specialized website, Hosteltur, appears to be facing a very uncertain future despite the reopening of EU internal borders, as well as some external borders.

In the first five months of this year, the sector lost a total of €18.86 billion compared to the same period of 2019, El País reported on Thursday (2 July).

Several Spanish tour-operators and local travel agencies admitted in interviews to Spanish media that this season is almost “lost” financially. However, they remain confident they will “resist” major losses this summer thanks to spending by domestic Spanish tourists.

In June, the government launched an international marketing campaign to attract foreign tourists, where Spain is presented as a “safe destination”, under the motto “Spain Will Wait”.

(Fernando Heller |

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