The view over Antequera in Spain, the skyline of which is dotted with Gothic church spires and Baroque bell towers Picture: Anne Stevens.
The view over Antequera in Spain, the skyline of which is dotted with Gothic church spires and Baroque bell towers Picture: Anne Stevens.

Travel to Spain collapses as nation extends further lockdown restrictions

By Reuters Time of article published Nov 3, 2020

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International tourist arrivals to Spain fell 87% year-on-year in September, data showed on Tuesday, as coronavirus restrictions and a rapid rise in cases put many off visiting.

After a disastrous summer season, when few visitors came despite the lifting of lockdowns, many had hoped the stricken tourist sector, which normally accounts for 12% of economic output, would improve in September.

But September's year-on-year fall was even steeper than the76% drop recorded in August, while tourists spent 90% less in September than in the same month a year ago.

Over the first nine months of the year, about 16.8 million foreign tourists visited Spain, around 75% fewer than in the same period of 2019, the National Statistics Institute (INE)said.

Spain lifted its state of emergency imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic at the end of June, reopening its borders to visitors from most of Europe and allowing British tourists in without having to quarantine.

Spain normally attracts 80 million tourists a year, with tourism providing more than 12 per cent of the country's GDP.

France now accounts for the largest group of foreign tourists after the number of Britons - who last year made up a fifth of international visitors - plunged 81% between January and September.

Still, officials in the Canary Islands were optimistic that some of the winter season there could be salvaged after Germany and Britain removed travel restrictions to the archipelago

While Spain's gross domestic product rebounded in the third quarter, the economy was still 8.7% smaller than a year ago.

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