The general director of Turespaña, Miguel Sanz, has highlighted that, according to the forecasts of the autonomous body, Spain will close 2022 with between 80 and 90 percent of the income from tourism that it achieved in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, and has highlighted the “speed” of this recovery in a context of uncertainty.
This was stated during the I Conference on Air Connectivity that was held in Valencia, where key players in the aeronautical market of Aena, Ignacio Biosca, also participated, along with the regional secretary of Tourism, Francesc Colomer, and the Councillor for Tourism of the Valencia City Council and president of Visit València, Emiliano García. The event has brought together airline managers, and airport and destination managers to discuss the promotion of tourism.
The person in charge of Turespaña, in his speech, has indicated that the summer “is better” than expected when this January Spain was immersed in the omicron wave and “all the international consultants” pointed out that the recovery of tourism to pre-pandemic levels would not be reached until 2024. “This summer we will very possibly have numbers if not the same, even higher than 2019,” he pointed out.
In this sense, he has stated that at the end of the year, “we will reach 80 or 90% of the volume of tourism income in 2019” and the forecast is that “the recovery will continue after the summer months and with notable intensity”, he explained, before comparing the situations of this spring with that of 2022. “Two years ago, we had a volume 0, nobody expected that it would ever come, when I saw it on paper it seemed like a dystopia. We have gone from 0 visitors in the spring of 2020 to eight million in 2022”.
In this recovery, Sanz has highlighted that the “extensive” network of airports in Spain has allowed the tourist recovery to be “balanced” between the different territories, while at the same time he has valued the work of the administrations to position Spain as a “safe” destination in health terms, during the management of the pandemic and its exit, through its commitment to the covid passport.
Thus, he stated that Spain is facing a “very good summer” and that the “real data” reflect that “the levels of search for Spanish destinations remain above those of 2019 for the last one”. “We do not have certainties in terms of behaviour that would indicate anything other than that there is still a strong interest in travel”, although “the macroeconomic data make it necessary to be attentive to the development of the situation”, he pointed out.
On behalf of Aena, Ignacio Biosca has pointed out that the public company has similar perspectives: in May, 80% of the volume of air passengers in 2019 had recovered, “now it will be close to 90%” and for the high point of the summer expects to approach 100%.
However, he pointed out that “not all markets behave the same” and domestic traffic is above 2019 levels, while the European “a little below”. In this way, he has pointed out that “it is not being easy in Europe”, although Spanish airports present “minor difficulties”, and has referred to “great unknowns” such as inflation, fuel prices, the invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic.
On the other hand, both have agreed on the importance of promoting the image of Spain so that it is perceived as a sustainable destination and the option that respects the environment for the European traveller.
Finally, Biosca has also highlighted that Valencia Airport has been awarded as ‘Best Airport in Europe’ in the category of 5 to 10 million passengers, in the thirty-second edition of the ACI Europe 2022 awards.