ForwardKeys says Spain’s tourism industry in prime position for a successful Easter and summer
Spain is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world by tourists for this Easter, as highlighted in the presentation of travel forecasts for Spain made last Friday, April 1, 2022 by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and of Tourism and ForwardKeys, a global travel intelligence and data company.
“The year 2022 has started with a sustained recovery in tourism, as shown by hotel occupancy survey data with 24.1 million overnight stays between January and February, or 72% of the pre-pandemic level, or employment data recorded in February. An increase of over 300,000 affiliates from its 2021 level. A positive development despite the uncertainty generated by the omicron variant that occurred – Spain is seen in our main markets as a safe destination due to the high vaccination rate of the population,” said Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto.
The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, also spoke about the consequences of Putin’s war and the response plan approved by the government which will mobilize 16,000 million euros in public aid, a plan which aims to reduce energy costs, to help the companies and groups most affected and to generate confidence in the Spanish economy. Although all sectors are affected by the uncertainty of the war, including the tourism sector, according to ForwardKeys forecast in April, we can recover between 80% of the international tourists we had in 2019. However, we must be careful because the evolution of the next few months will depend on the duration of the war and its impact on travel confidence”.
Maroto also pointed out that the ministry is continuing the roll-out of the Tourism Modernization and Competitiveness Plan financed by the Next Generation funds and announced that the extraordinary call for 2022 of tourism sustainability plans in destinations with 720 million euros is now open. The objective of the program is to advance in the transformation of tourist destinations towards a model based on environmental, socio-economic and territorial sustainability.
Easter Holidays – Spain is a top destination for international arrivals and domestic travel
Looking at the latest air ticketing data by ForwardKeys for Easter travel, the overall picture is positive. International arrivals to Spain are down 13% from pre-pandemic levels, while domestic travel is down just 1%.
Unsurprisingly among the top five destinations for Easter holidays in Spain, four out of five destinations are in the Canary Islands: Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Gran Canarias and Ibiza. This was also the top domestic tourism trend observed by ForwardKeys in 2021.
More good news for Spain is the return of German and British tourists due to the ease of travel restrictions. The main destinations traveling to Spain at Easter are Denmark, Sweden and Colombia, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of frustrated demand, which turned into renewed interest from travelers each time restrictions allowed travel again; In this new phase of the pandemic, Spain is recovering rapidly to the point of approaching the volumes before the start of the crisis. At Easter, we expect traditional source markets such as the UK or Germany to exceed pre-pandemic arrival levels,” says Juan Gomez, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys.
“But don’t expect things to be the same as before the pandemic. Our data shows that length of stay is up to an average of 9 days in Spain with the greatest growth seen in groups of 3-5 people, normally this size reflects families. It’s interesting because it means hotels, tour operators and airlines have to think out of the box about how to better engage and interest traveling families,” adds Gomez.
Airlines only scheduled 7% fewer seats for international flights to Spain for Easter than at the same time in 2019. Some destinations like Fuerteventura (+17%), Ibiza (+16%), Tenerife (+11%) and Palma (+3%) will have more seats than in the pre-pandemic period.
Future travel outlook for Spain in Q2 and summer
Spain is showing resilience and remains one of the favorite travel destinations in the second quarter and over the summer. Looking at future Q2 bookings compared to 2019, Spain is down 22%, but still ahead of neighboring France and Portugal.
“It’s really encouraging because we’ve noticed a trend where people are more likely to book at the last minute, so this number can only improve,” says Juan Gomez.
“Furthermore, the demand is real, as the planned seat capacity for this period is down 5% compared to 2019 levels, with some destinations such as Tenerife and Palma de Mallorca anticipating demand by increasing their respective capacity by +14 % and +4%,” adds Gomez.
Summer will be the pivotal season to determine whether the Spanish tourism sector has fully reactivated. “To end on a positive note, our airfare data shows that for international tickets booked from June to August, we can see a 197% increase over the same period last year,” says Gomez. .