The latest figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that tourist arrivals to Spain dropped by 80%% whilst Madrid saw a similar fall of 77% due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent imposition of travel restrictions to the country.
Just 18.96 million foreign visitors arrived in 2020, compared to 83.5 million international tourists who arrived in 2019 in what was the seventh year in a row of record figures for the industry.
The fall in numbers had a knock-on effect on tourist expenditure which also fell dramatically last year.
Visitors spent €19.7 billion in 2020, down from €91.9 billion in 2019, a drop of 78.5% which represented a contraction in the sector´s weight of the Spanish economy to just 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 – down from 12.4% in 2019.
Although Madrid was hard hit- it was not the hardest with traditional holiday hotspots in Andalucia, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands faring far worse.
Some such as the Balearic and Canary Islands who are dependent on visitors from the UK had the double whammy of the collapse of the British tour operator Thomas Cook in January and the imposition of the UK quarantine orders in the summer followed by the Spanish ban on UK arrivals due to the coronavirus variant in December 2020.
The Spanish travel ban has been extended until 22 February.
The Balearic Islands is the Spanish region that has seen the biggest drop in international visitors, with arrivals from outside Spain falling to 1.7 million in 2020 compared to 13.6 million in 2019 – representing a fall of 87%.
Although there was some recompense from domestic tourism as Spaniards where either not permitted or chose to enjoy their summer holidays in Spain in 2020, it still represents a disastrous fall in numbers for the hotel and tourism industry.
The outlook for 2021 is remains uncertain, although there is hope that with countries completing the first month of their vaccine programmes, the present restrictions on international travel maybe lifted in time for the summer.