International tourist arrivals plunge by 94% in November

2020 set to be worst in at least 20 years in number of visitors from abroad

A tourist at the Golden Hotel in Port Salou on September 13, 2020 (by Mar Rovira)
A tourist at the Golden Hotel in Port Salou on September 13, 2020 (by Mar Rovira) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 5, 2021 01:36 PM

Covid-19 continues having a devastating impact into the Catalan tourism sector – in November, international arrivals were 58,794, plummeting by 94.4% in comparison to the same month in 2019.

According to the Statistics of Touristic Movements (Frontur) and the Tourist Expenditure Survey (Egatur), published by Spain’s Institute of Statistics (INE, in Spanish) on Tuesday, the visitors' expense in November was €43.2 million, 95.5% less than twelve months before.

From January to November, 3.8 million international tourists visited Catalonia, 80% less than in the same period of 2019. Indeed, in the year before the Covid-19 pandemic, 19.3 million people from abroad sightsaw in Catalonia.

Worst figures since at least 2001

Pending the figures of December, 2020 will see a sharp decrease in number of international visitors, much more noticeable than the last ones, registered in 2009 and 2016.

The figures only date back to 2001, the lowest point in the series, at 10.7 million, probably more than double than at the end of 2020.

France accounts for a quarter of international arrivals 

Each of the 58,794 visitors in November spent €736 on average, 20% less than twelve months before. Yet, the average number of days in Catalonia was 6.7, 44% more than in November 2019.

A quarter of the total arrivals came from France (25.5%), followed by Italy (8%), Germany (7.1%), the UK (4.9%), the Netherlands (4.4%), Portugal (3.8%) and the US (2.7%). 

Due to the pandemic, Spain requires a negative PCR test from many countries 72 hours prior to arrival in order to enter the country

Although still a significant decline, July and August experienced a slightly smaller 80% drop in global travelers, while in October it worsened at 86% loss.

The tourism industry made up 12.9% of Catalonia’s GDP only last year, but now it represents only 3.1% according to the Official Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. 

Catalonia is the second main tourist destination in Spain, drawing in 18.7% of all visitors.