Tourism bounces on ice as Spanish hotel bookings lag
The number of nights booked by tourists in Spanish hotels jumped to just over 4 million in April, from zero a year earlier when a strict Covid lockdown crippled the travel industry and forced most to stay at home. them.
But, despite the jump, bookings were still 85% below April 2019 levels, data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute showed, highlighting the scale of the blow from the pandemic.
Overall bookings for the first four months of the year were 71% lower than the equivalent period last year, with the first travel restrictions not being introduced until mid-March 2020.
Preliminary data from booking platforms suggests that bookings accelerated in May after the national state of emergency expired, allowing more Spaniards to travel to the country.
According to the INE, local tourists made up almost 70% of total bookings in April, while Germans, who are free to travel to destinations in the Balearic Islands, made up the largest group of foreign travelers.
Meanwhile, Willie Walsh, the head of the airline lobby group IATA, expects the aviation industry to come out of the Covid crisis smaller and more cautious, doubting the airlines will try to grow through acquisitions.
“It will be a smaller industry. We are not going to get all the capacity back. It will be a more cautious industry. I don’t expect to see any M&A activity, mainly because people will be kept on. money they have, ”he mentioned.
Mr Walsh, former CEO of Aer Lingus and owner of British Airways IAG, said spending “precious cash resources” would be “too risky”.
But he believes there will be consolidation through the downsizing of airline operations and the failure of some of them.
“It will take time for airlines to repair their balance sheets,” he said.
IATA forecast global travel demand to return to 2019, to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.