Spain's government anticipates that tourism will not recover fully until 2023

A traveller waiting in an airport queue.
A traveller waiting in an airport queue. / EUROPA PRESS
  • The sector estimates that since April 2020 some 116 billion euros have been lost due to the coronavirus crisis

Spain's hotel and tourism sectors have suffered a collapse in their turnover like never before.

In 2021 alone hoteliers have lost 70 per cent of their sales and the tourism sector estimates that since April 2020 some 116 billion euros have been lost due to activity 75 per cent lower than a year earlier

The vaccination process around the world will make it possible this year to gradually lift restrictions as the government predicts that the sector will be the "main engine" of the economic recovery, growing at around seven per cent per year during 2021 and 2022.

This is explained in Spain’s Recovery Plan which was sent to Brussels last Friday.

In the document the government recognises that there are certain sectors that "have hardly been affected by the crisis" or have even grown in 2020, but that others are more sensitive to the coronavirus restrictions, such as hotels, transport and recreational activities, which have fallen more than the economy as a whole.

Although they are confident that the vaccination process and the implementation of the Recovery Plan with European funds will allow most sectors to recover their pre-crisis level of activity in 2021, and exceed it in 2022, the hospitality industry is expected to end that year without having reached its pre-pandemic activity.

"Being closely linked to the evolution of the tourism sector" it will not be until the second half of 2022 when they begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the government explains in the plan.

It says that the gradual recovery of tourism suggests that the most vulnerable sectors (hospitality, transport and leisure) will register a level of activity in 2021 still 25 per cent below 2019 and in 2022 the 'gap' will be eight per cent although 10 per cent in the specific case of the hotel industry.

The vaccination process at a European level suggests that the recovery of tourist activity will start in the third quarter of this year, which will end at around 40 per cent of its pre-crisis level. For the whole of 2021, the government expects that tourism activity will recover 42.4 per cent from its previous level, an improvement of more than 10 points compared to the 2020 figure (32 per cent).

Unemployment forecast

The government is forecasting a very gradual decrease in the unemployment rate, going from 15.5 per cent in 2020, to 15.2 per cent this year, 14.1 per cent in 2022 and 13.2 per cent in 2023, and levelling out at 12.7 per cent in 2024.

The Recovery Plan will allocate 3.4 billion euros to the tourism sector with the forecast that funds will help to create 800,000 jobs in the next three years throughout the economy.