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90% drop in tourism during first quarter of 2021 from same period last year

French visitors make up a third of international travellers with the total number of tourists spending €200m in Catalonia from January to March


06 May 2021 11:27 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The number of tourists dropped by 89.9% during the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

The pandemic has continued to cause damage to a sector which usually accounts for 13% of Catalonia's GDP, according to the latest figures from Spain's statistics institute.

Restrictions were in place from January to March 2021, in order to keep the Covid-19 third wave under control. These included measures such as the closure of borders which deterred potential visitors.

The 224,907 international tourists in Catalonia spent around €200 million between them, which stands for 91.3% less than the amount for the same period last year.

In March, the average amount spent per tourist was €797, around 20% less compared to March last year – yet, the standard duration of the visits was 5.8 days, 11.5% more than the average from 12 months before.

The majority of travellers came from France, representing 35.7% of the total demographic.

Catalonia is the second most popular destination in Spain for tourists at the moment (attracting 17.5% of visitors), only behind the Canary Islands (20.5%).

The tourism sector has been severely hit by pandemic. Barcelona's hotels reported €2.1 billion in losses since March 2020, which means missing out on 95% of their usual turnover.

Currently only 30% of hotels in the Catalan capital are open, with reductions in prices from between 50% and 60%, and 90% of workers in the sector being affected by temporary redundancy schemes (ERTOs).

Restaurants are also among the most badly affected sectors due to the near disappearance of international tourists. Indeed, Barcelona's restaurateurs' guild estimates that 25% of the establishments have closed for good, and another 25% is at risk.

The Catalan capital is hoping to welcome 50% of the number of tourists they had in 2019 this summer. 

Catalan News analysed how the pandemic has affected the hospitality sector, particularly bars, across Barcelona. Press play below to listen or subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify.

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  • Tourists carrying suitcases through the center of Figueres on July 18, 2020 (by Gerard Vilà)

  • Tourists carrying suitcases through the center of Figueres on July 18, 2020 (by Gerard Vilà)