This summer in the streets of Tarifa the coronavirus seemed to have disappeared. The old town of the southernmost municipality of the peninsula was full of tourists and it was difficult to find a free table on one of its terraces. And it is that more than 60,000 people spent the night in a tourist accommodation in the town of Cadiz between July and August of this year, the highest figure -at least- in the last fifteen years. However, foreign visitors have been just over 11,000, a number among the lowest in the same period.
Tarifa is the tourist spot where travelers have increased the most this summer compared to those before the pandemic. Specifically, the town has received 58% more tourists than, on average, in the summers from 2015 to 2019 and four out of five of them have been from the rest of Spain. The increase in tourism compared to before the pandemic is followed by the Galician municipalities of Ourense and Viveiro, Sallent de Gállego (Huesca) and Cazorla (Jaén), where travelers have grown by about 30% compared to the pre-pandemic volume. In these municipalities, 90% or more of the visitors came from other parts of the country.
The pattern of a greater increase in visitors, together with a greater proportion of local tourists, has been repeated elsewhere. In fact, in all the tourist towns where this summer has been better for the sector than those before the pandemic, national tourism has accounted for more than half of the visitors. This is clear from the Hotel Occupancy Survey published monthly by the National Institute of Statistics and analyzed by elDiario.es.
Domestic tourism record
Overall, the data shows that inland tourism has rebounded this summer, after last year’s poor numbers. In fact, there have been more than 34 million visitors residing in Spain in the total number of accommodations in the country, the highest figure, at least, in the last fifteen years. This change in trend has surely been influenced by the greater difficulty in traveling outside the country, which has made many choose to visit other parts of the Spanish geography instead of going abroad.
The other side of the same coin has been foreign tourism, which, although it has increased compared to the previous summer, is still far from the figures reached before the arrival of Covid-19. The foreign tourists who have visited Spain this summer have been less than half of those who had, on average, the months of July and August from 2015 to 2019.
Hotels are not yet full
During the months of July and August, tourist accommodations throughout the country have failed to reach 60% occupancy of hotel rooms. This is a lower percentage than was usual before the pandemic, which was around 75% occupancy, on average. Even so, there are big differences between provinces. The establishments on the coast have managed to occupy more places while those in the interior have left many empty rooms.
In Gipuzkoa, three out of every four places have been occupied, while in Ciudad Real it has barely exceeded 30% of occupancy. However, these provinces registered similar percentages before 2020. The same was not the case in Barcelona, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and Madrid, where occupancy has decreased by more than 30% compared to the previous summers.
Those who have not yet recovered
Despite the good figures for some coastal areas, such as Galicia, Asturias, Andalusia and the Valencian Community, there are tourist areas where the effects of the coronavirus are still being felt. The cities of Madrid and Barcelona have lost a third of the tourism they received before the pandemic. Also in some areas of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands the visitor figures are far from what they used to be.
Arona, the main tourist area of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, has received 44% fewer visitors than the summers between 2015 and 2019. In the Balearic Islands, the municipalities that have been most affected by the decrease in tourism are those that receive more foreigners , such as Sant Llorenç des Cardassar (-36%), Calvià (-29%) and Capdepera (-22%).
The following table allows you to order those municipalities considered tourist areas according to the visitors they have received this summer or the difference with respect to the usual. In addition, it also includes an evolution of summer tourism in each of them.