Passengers at Madrid's Barajas airport. / EFE

Spain received 5 million international air passengers in August

The Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, is even more optimistic about the autumn-winter period following the UK government's decision government to relax some of its coronavirus travel regulations as of 4 October


Despite the fact that the new variants of the coronavirus are delaying the arrival of some international tourists to Spain, the recovery of the sector is starting.

The latest data from Turespaña shows that Spain received 5 million passengers from international airports in August, representing an increase of 172 per cent compared to last year, when it was fewer than 2 million. But still the figure represents only half (48.6 per cent) of the international arrivals in August 2019, before the pandemic.

Spain’s Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, has claimed that this year is "the beginning of the recovery" said the numbers "confirm the consolidated recovery trend that began in March." She added that the country’s successful vaccination campaign and introduction of a Covid certificate have helped this .

In addition, Maroto is optimistic about the autumn-winter campaign due to the decision of the British government to relax its regulations for vaccinated tourist trips as of 4 October. "It will contribute to increasing travel with our main issuing country," acknowledges the minister.

So far this year, Spain has received a total of 15.6 million international passengers by air, which is 10 per cent more than in the same period last year, but still remains 76 per cent below the 65 million of 2019.

The increase in international passengers was seen in all the main issuing countries, but the fact that the United Kingdom - for the first time this year - is once again positioned as first in the issuing markets stands out. Passenger arrivals from British airports have tripled compared to August 2020, bringing almost 822,000 people to Spain, who went mainly to the Balearic Islands.

Second place in the issuing market was Germany, with almost 804,000 tourists, followed by France (540,000), Italy (492,000), the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, Poland and Denmark, all above 75 per cent compared to the figures for August last year.

The Balearic Islands ranks as the main destination for international passengers, accounting for more than a quarter of them (26 per cent). They are followed by Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Valencian region.