Tourism doubles from 2020, but is still far from pre-pandemic levels

Catalonia welcomed 1.5 million visitors in July, but domestic tourism can’t make up for lack of foreign travellers

The Ilunion Calete Park hotel in Sant Pol (by Xavier Pi)
The Ilunion Calete Park hotel in Sant Pol (by Xavier Pi) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 25, 2021 10:36 AM

Catalonia welcomed 1.5 million tourists in July, twice as many as in the same month in 2020, but the figure is still far from pre-pandemic levels.

The number of visitors, according to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), was 37%.7 lower than in 2019, mainly due to the collapse of international travel.

Domestic tourism has skyrocketed, with 923,436 Spaniards visiting Catalonia the month of July—that is, 83% more than a year ago, and also surpassing pre-pandemic numbers with a 12% increase from 2019.

The rise of Spanish tourism does not, however, make up for the shortage of foreign visitors.

In July, Catalonia attracted 594,561 international visitors—more than double than in 2020, but 63% fewer than the year before the pandemic started.

Overnight stays dragged down by lack of foreigners

The lack of international tourists is felt even more strongly with the decrease of overnight stays, as foreign travellers tend to stay longer than Spaniards. 

Catalonia’s hospitality sector reported 4.1 million stays, a twofold increase from 2020, but half (-49.6%) the number in 2019. 

While net overnight stays of international travellers fell by 69%, and those of Spaniards increased by 10%.