Tourism sank 87% in September after official recommendations not to travel to Spain

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The arrival of French visitors, despite being the ones who visited the country the most, fell by 60%

Nine out of ten tourists who used to travel to Spain in September did not do so this year. The reason: the recommendation made by many governments not to travel to this country due to the increase in infections. In total, Spain lost 7,705,000 tourists in that period, a decrease of 87.1% compared to 2019, as published by the National Institute of Statistics on Tuesday. The French were the tourists who trusted Spain the most and their number fell by 60% compared to last year, while 97% of Americans avoided the peninsula.

Spending by travelers in September fell by almost the same proportion: 90% year-on-year. The tourism and hospitality sector received 17,715 million euros, 57,800 million less than in the same month of 2019. The main reason, in addition to the decrease in the number of travelers, is the drop in average spending per tourist of 22%, to 849 euros.

In the second half of August, given the increase in infections, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands recommended their inhabitants not to travel to Spain, which caused a disastrous month of September in the sector, after two in which tourism managed to recover part of what was lost by confinement. In total, in the three summer months 31 million tourists decided not to come to Spain, 83% less. The fall in travelers in July and August was 75% compared to the previous year, compared to the 100% drop in April and May and 97.7% in June.

The drop in average spending per tourist is explained by two factors. The first is the collapse of the average stay of visitors: those who stay two to three nights fell by 86%; those who stay between four nights and a week fell 91%; and those who stay between one and two weeks, 88%. In parallel, the hikers who do not spend the night in Spain held the rate much better and fell by half. Those who spent only one night decreased by 66%. The second factor is the collapse of accommodation reserves. The number of travelers staying in places of payment, such as hotels, hostels or rental homes, fell by 90%; while foreigners who stay in houses of their own or of friends and family fell by 66%.

By nationality, the French were by far the largest tourists: 390,000 people from that country visited Spain in September. From the United Kingdom came 160,000 (-92%); from Germany, 90,000 (-93%); from Portugal, 70,000 (-72%); and from Italy, 60,000 (-86%). The United States was, for its part, the country in which the number of travelers to Spain fell the most: only 9,700 arrived.

The Balearic Islands led the fall in tourism in September, 94% less than the previous year, followed by Madrid (-93%), the Canary Islands (-90%), Andalusia (87%) and Catalonia (-86%). If the accumulated in the first nine months of the year is taken into account, the fall softens in all cases to between 70 and 80%, except for the Balearic Islands, which lost 87% of its visitors between January and September.

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