Covid Passport to Assist Spanish Hospitality Solely Barely
The EU’s digital COVID certificate, better known as the “Covid Pass”, is the only hope for tourism after a year and a half of restrictions due to the pandemic. However, the measure will not be enough to return to pre-coronavirus levels. Despite the improvement in the health crisis and the slight recovery in the Spanish hospitality industry, hotel chains still only expect 50% of the turnover registered in summer 2019.
Tour operators and airlines will also return to pre-crisis levels in 2023. In some sectors, such as international flights, the recovery forecast will be extended to 2024. As the summer season approaches, the industry has high expectations for domestic tourism.
Javier Gándara, president of the Spanish aviation association ALA, which represents 60 airlines that make up 85% of the country’s air traffic, said he hoped the industry would have recovered in two years, adding that there were plans to take one Step at a time.
“First, a recreation of domestic flights by encouraging travel by family and friends; then the intra-European connections and finally the international and long-haul routes, ”said the President of ALA.
Britain hampers recovery
The recovery process is slow. In the months of the lockdown, only 5% of air traffic was reached in early 2020 (only cargo flights with medical care and flights for repatriated Spanish citizens were allowed), and in April 2021 traffic rose to 17%, showing that the industry is still struggling .
For the experts, an important part of the problem is the UK government, which has decided to add Spain to its “Do Not Travel” list despite the huge drop in the number of coronavirus cases. According to this, Spain could have reached between 75 and 80% of the air traffic.
Domestic tourism is not enough for hotels
Spanish hoteliers agree that the recovery in the domestic market will not be enough to help the crisis. “80% of international tourism comes to Spain by air and we are largely dependent on foreign tourists, even if domestic tourism is growing strongly,” said Amancio López, President of the Hotusa Group.
According to industry forecasts, only 30 to 35% of hotel occupancy will be achieved. In Spain, foreign tourists account for 65 to 70% of total overnight stays.
“June is a key month because everyone is planning the vacation. Despite greater national and European mobility, our forecasts assume a business volume of only 50% compared to summer 2019 ”, said Vicente Fenollar, Executive President of Ávoris and CFO of the Barceló Group.
Recovery depends on the vaccines
“When the recovery begins, it will be as quick and disruptive as the crisis that Covid caused.” explains Xavier Trias, responsible partner for technology consulting and tourism at EY.
Mr. Trias added: “Unlike other industries, tourism does not face any technological challenges. We just need to speed up the processes: the faster the vaccination campaign, the faster the recovery will be. The only challenge is that this recovery must be consistent and coordinated. ”However, the Covid Pass is intended to help attract more travelers to the country.