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Foreign tourism dropped 80% in July with Germans now cancelling holidays too

Tui was one operator dealing with cancelled trips at Palma Airport.
Tui was one operator dealing with cancelled trips at Palma Airport. / EFE
  • In what has been described as "very bad news" for the tourism industry, especially in the Balearics, Germany last weekend joined the UK in imposing quarantine on travellers returning from Spain

Tourism data for July, published on Thursday, has confirmed what the industry has been witnessing in the resorts. Foreign tourists arriving by plane in Spain in July were down 80 per cent on a year ago. A total of 2.1 million people arrived for their holidays from abroad this way, of whom almost half were from Britain and Germany.

The data published doesn't cover the period since Britain and Germany imposed quarantine on people returning from Spain, when the drop off in tourist numbers is expected to become worse.

There was dismay last weekend as German tour operators cancelled their programmes for the time being to all Spain except the Canaries, following the German government's new rule. Some 30,000 German tourists were estimated to be in the Balearics at the time, the most popular Spanish destination, where 70 per cent of overseas visitors normally come from the UK or Germany in summer. The Balearics hoteliers association, FEHM, said it was "very bad news".

This new shock in the tourism sector came alongside rapidly growing numbers of cases of Covid-19 infections being detected around Spain, placing the country at the top of the European list for contagions once again.

"Things aren't going well," said Fernando Simón, the government's pandemic expert, at Thursday's press conference as another sharp surge in cases was being reported. The government announced 3,349 positive cases in the previous 24 hours and added 7,039 to its rolling daily total, now openly acknowledging the second, higher measure. Madrid and the Basque Country are now heading the list of new cases, but the other previous hotspots of Aragon and Catalonia showed signs of levelling off. 5,158 people were in hospitals nationally with coronavirus on Thursday, of whom 522 were in intensive care.

While regions extend restrictions in differing ways, the country is turning its attention to the risk of September's return to school being put in jeopardy.

Teaching unions in Madrid have called for strikes in the capital at the start of term, saying the regional authorities still haven't made clear what rules will be in place to protect staff and pupils.