Lleida's tourism sector hopes to make up for losses with Catalan tourists
10% to 25% drop in reservations in July due to international travel advisories
After Lleida's tourism sector saw reservations fall between 10% and 25% in July, businesses hope to partially make up for last month's losses with last-minute reservations from visitors from other parts of Catalonia.
While other years have seen an abundance of visitors from abroad, especially from France, Germany, The Netherlands, or the United Kingdom, as well as from the neighboring region of Aragon, travel recommendations due to the public health situation have forced their numbers down dramatically.
Guesthouses and campsites in the western Catalan Pyrenees, for example, are currently only at 80% capacity, and most tourists staying at them reside in Catalonia.
Marta Cortina, president of the Lleida campsite association, says that rural tourism businesses are seeing "a lot of Catalan tourists that just want to get out."
This was perhaps to be expected as many urbanites rushed to the great outdoors after spending months under lockdown in cities – in fact, in June 2020, as confinement measures were easing, there were 20% more mountain rescues in Catalonia than the same month last year.
But the pandemic has not only brought down the number of foreign visitors, it has increased uncertainty even among locals who, wary of possible future Covid-curbing measures, are finding it tricky to make travel plans far in advance.
"There have been cases of rural guesthouses that will have six cancellations and six new reservations the same week, it's crazy," says Jaume Ramon Solé of the Lleida Rural Tourism Federation.