Last week the Spanish government presented its Tourism Promotion Plan, to which over 4.250 billion euros will be assigned, mostly in the form of credits. Of the total amount of aid earmarked for the tourism sector, one of the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, 93%, or almost 4 billion euros, will be granted via loans. A further some 275 million euros will be granted in the form of direct transfers.
Spain has announced this week measures to impose a 14-day quarantine on international travellers. These spark new doubts over the tourism sector. Only the new EU coordinated plan for tourism, which recommends reopening borders and reviving the sector, could cancel the Spanish government’s decision.
I am the first one to say that we need to change the level of importance that tourism has in our economy, but the proportionate importance. Not get rid of the industry all together.
The latest figures from Spain’s airports manager AENA, reflecting the importance of the tourism industry, support the estimations given by the Secretary of State for Tourism, which point to a total of 74 million international tourists by end-2016. If the predictions are confirmed, there will be eight million more international tourists visiting Spain in 2016 compared to a year earlier, when there was a record number of 68 million. But can Spain’s tourism regions survive this widespread growth?
No day goes by without us being told how wonderful this year’s tourism campaign is going to be, in terms of the millions of visitors and the billions of euros it will generate. The tourism campaign is focused on the third quarter, when everyone and their aunt is getting sunburnt. There are many more jobs, workers are needed, and this is reflected in the increase in the number of hours worked, normal and extra.
Spain’s international tourist arrivals data continues to beat records, with 38 million visitors in the January-July period.
Latest data on foreign tourist numbers bring some degree of relief to an economically hurting Spain. Levels of visits have this summer approached 2007 figures. Madrid must apply VAT increases with care on the sector.