Up to 90% hotel occupancy expected over Easter holidays
More than 8,800 flights scheduled in Barcelona airport this week, over 80% of pre-pandemic levels
Catalonia is getting ready for the Easter holidays and thousands of residents have already left the Barcelona area to head for a break to various destinations across the territory. The tourism sector is optimistic it will reach almost full occupancy.
Inland Catalonia and the province of Girona, north of Barcelona, are among the top destinations for Catalan tourists as hotels and other accommodations expect a considerable amount of bookings.
Many will also enjoy their Easter holidays in the mountainous Pyrenees area. Some hotels there, such as Hotel de la Cota 2,000 at the Port Ainé ski resort, already has around 95% occupancy.
Sports activities confirm "bookings are being made at an impressive rate," Manel Irímia, from Llavorsí Rafting told the Catalan News Agency (ACN), as people tend to wait until the last moment to see what the weather will be like.
The "stronger" holiday days will be between Friday 15 and Sunday 17, Irímia said. While many sports activity businesses start their season during the Easter holidays, ski resorts begin to finish theirs.
Beach tourism season starts
South of Barcelona, the Costa Daurada golden coast is kicking their holiday season off with almost 80% hotel occupancy expected. The sector has its hopes for local visitors, but also for those travelling from the Basque Country, Navarre, and France.
Expectations are high as the sector believes they will reach similar figures to those seen before the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Tarragona’s Hotels and Tourism businesses federation (FEHT), camping sites will be around 85% full and the vast majority of tourists will arrive from Wednesday 13.
In fact, one of the most popular things to do in Costa Daurada area according to FEHT spokesperson Xavier Guardià is sports. Between 10,000 and 12,000 people will travel to one of the area’s destinations to compete in some of the football, basketball, and ballroom dancing competitions.
Another location near Barcelona, a 30-minute ride to the south, is Vilanova i la Geltrú, where hotels and tourist accommodations expect to surpass the 90% occupancy rate.
While in the northeast of the territory, Girona has around 85% of available accommodations booked. However, only 46% of housing is open and reservations are being made "at a good pace," the Costa Brava-Pirineus Tourist Accommodations Association said.
The vast majority of customers are still local residents, but they acknowledge that international tourism is slowly increasing.
Barcelona airport close to 2019 levels
The airport of Barcelona-El Prat will have 8,882 flights during the Easter holiday season, reaching 82% of pre-pandemic levels. The day with the highest number of flights will be on Friday 14 with 872 flights, ahead of Thursday with 848 operations.
2022’s Easter holidays are the first one since the Covid-19 pandemic started, as in 2020 the vast majority of the population was under strict lockdown restrictions and in 2021 the airport only registered 2,100 scheduled flights.
On an international note, the airport is still lagging behind numbers recorded in 2019. This year’s Easter holiday will have 29% fewer international flights compared to pre-pandemic levels, as Juan Antonio Gómez, from Forwardkeys consulting, said during a press conference.
Easter holidays also mean a break for Catalans who live in Barcelona, as 457,000 vehicles had left the city as of Saturday afternoon.
Nightlife sector expectant
The nightlife sector is looking forward to the first Easter holidays after two years without any celebrations. Data shared by the Catalan nightlife industry body, Fecasarm, show that locals will be full with expected numbers reaching up to 90% full capacity.
The overall economic impact during the holiday will double the amount people spend during normal April weekends.
Easter means "the starting point for those excited to get back to work, awaiting international tourists to slowly arrive," Eduardo Abenójar, president of Salou's nightlife sector association said to ACN.