Tourists arriving at a hotel in Vitoria. / sur

Hotels in Spain return to pre-pandemic levels with six million guests in March

British and German visitors account for 23.6% and 18.7% of the total of overnight stays by foreigners, respectively. They are followed in number by tourists from France, the Netherlands and Italy

EDURNE MARTÍNEZ Madrid

More than six million people stayed in hotels in Spain in March, marking the recovery of the sector after two years of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. The figures published today, 25 April, show that there were over 17.6 million overnight stays last month, which is five times as many as March 2021.

These figures are comparable with those of February 2020, just before the pandemic began, when there were 6.5 million visitors and 17.7 million overnight stays in hotels. In March last year, however, only 1.7 million people stayed in a hotel, and there were 3.5 million overnight stays.

Thanks to demand being high, most hotels in Spain have reopened, after being closed for months during the restrictions. Last month 12,868 were open, with an average occupancy rate of 47%. That is more than the 12,662 that were open in February 2020, with an occupancy of 51%. It means more than 4,300 establishments were open than a year ago.

156,137 workers

And when more hotels are open, there are more employees in the sector. The statistics just released show that there are now 156,137 workers in Spanish hotels, many more than the 54,000 in March last year, and close to the 165,000 in February 2020.

Of the total, seven million (40%) guests were from Spain, and 10.5 million were from abroad. The numbers in February 2020 were similar, but the average length of stay has risen from 2.73 days to 2.91 last month, a sign which the sector sees as promising.

Tenerife, the highest occupancy levels in Spain

Hotels in southern Tenerife had the best occupancy rates last month (71.5%) and La Gomera had the highest occupancy at weekends (72.6%). In March, more than two million people stayed in hotels on the island of Tenerife, and the Spanish tourist resorts with the most overnight stays were Madrid, Barcelona and San Bartolomé de Tirajana.

British and German visitors are continuing to come to Spain, accounting for 23.6% and 18.7% of the total of overnight stays by foreigners, respectively. They are followed in number by tourists from France, the Netherlands and Italy.