What have tourism-dependent countries such as Spain done to address the pre-pandemic overtourism issues made explicit during 2019's highs? We haven't seen much, and worry for a return of some big lows amidst the rising optimism.
International travel to Spain will likely recover some two thirds of its pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of this year, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said on Monday, suggesting a post-summer revival in visits will be sustained.
“Our forecast for the last quarter of the year is to recover 66% of all international tourist flows that we had in 2019, which as you know was a record year,” the minister said at an event in Madrid.
Foreign travel to Spain has been gathering steam in recent months, with visitor numbers increasing more than four-fold in September from the previous year, when COVID-19 restrictions decimated the industry.
Despite the positive momentum, the number of foreign visitors in the first nine months of this year was still below a third of the levels experienced in 2019, when more than 80 million tourists came.
Maroto said the resumption of travel between the EU and the United States would contribute to the recovery of the number of foreign visitors.
She has said she expects tourism to fully regain those levels in 2022, up from less than 20% in 2020.
(Reporting by Corina Pons and Nathan Allen, editing by Inti Landauro, Robert Birsel)
Photo credit: Pedestrians on a crowded street in Valencia, Spain in 2019. Spain is aiming to reach two-thirds of its 2019 numbers in Q4 this year. Skift