As shared in a presentation on summer travel trends and tourism prospects for Spain delivered on the 30th of June by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and ForwardKeys, confirmed bookings for travel to Spain in July and August point to “a summer like before the pandemic”, with the country having recovered nine in ten international bookings made in 2019.
“The desire to travel to Spain this summer remains unchanged, demonstrating the resilience of our country’s tourism model even in the current context of rising costs,” commented Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, in the press conference presenting the data. “Local tourists’ commitment, once again, to domestic destinations, coupled with the return of international visitors, means we will this year see a summer like before the pandemic.”
More local trips than before the pandemic
This summer, Spanish tourists will continue to opt for holidays in their own country. According to latest ForwardKeys data on issued bookings, domestic flight reservations are 3% above 2019 values, with the islands the most sought-after destinations.
The destinations expected to see the most growth compared to summer 2019 are Fuerteventura, with a volume of issued bookings 39% greater than in 2019; Ibiza (+33%); Lanzarote (+31%); Santa Cruz de la Palma (+22%) and Malaga (+16%).
Catalonia, as a whole, also exceeds pre-pandemic bookings, with 9% more purchased tickets than in 2019.
The return of the international tourist
However, undoubtedly the most significant summer travel trend for Spain is the return of international tourists. Bookings for international flights to Spain reveal an 89% recovery compared to figures from 2019, a year that saw record international tourist arrivals.
“Spain expects to recover practically all of its international market this summer,” said Juan A Gómez García, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys. “In the absence of the reactivation of long-haul markets such as Asia, still 70% below pre-pandemic levels, arrivals from the rest of Europe will exceed 95%, while American markets will continue to recover, reaching 80% compared to the same period in 2019. It should be noted that some of the major source markets will grow considerably, sending more tourists than in the pre-pandemic summer despite inflation, which continues to be offset by significant pent-up demand for travel.”
Major markets with the highest rates of recovery
Bookings from Spain’s two main inbound markets, the United Kingdom and Germany, exceed 2019 levels – the United Kingdom by 5% and Germany by 22%.
Yet it is the Nordic countries showing the highest growth compared to the pre-pandemic period: +79% for Sweden, +46% for Denmark and +33% for Norway.
Bookings are also exceeding pre-pandemic levels on the other side of the Atlantic. Compared to 2019, trips to Spain are up 9% from Mexico and 6% from Colombia. Issued tickets from the United States are approaching the figures from three years ago, with a recovery rate of 96%.
The most popular destination for international tourists is the Balearic Islands, which, according to ForwardKeys data, are set for a record summer. The number of issued tickets on international flights to the Mediterranean archipelago is already 10% higher than in 2019. In the case of Ibiza, that figure reaches 14%, and for Palma de Mallorca, 9%.
The Valencian Community and Andalusia are approaching pre-pandemic levels, with booking recovery rates at 96% and 95%, respectively. While Malaga is set to achieve 98% recovery, both Seville and Valencia are at 96% of 2019 levels.
Recovery rates for the Community of Madrid and the Basque Country are around the national average, at 87% and 85%, respectively
The majority of international tourists choosing Spain as their summer holiday destination will come from Europe, as was the case before the pandemic.The tourists showing the most interest in Spain compared to 2019 are the more affluent travellers, with 25% more bookings for travel in premium cabins than in the pre-pandemic period.
Bookings for families and small groups (4 to 9 persons) travelling together increase their market share by 2% compared to 2019, with bookings for medium-term stays (4 to 8 nights) increasing by 3%.