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Tourism recovers: it will touch pre-pandemic levels at Easter | Economy

Recovery is coming to the tourism sector, one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This Easter, the businessmen will recover the sales they had in 2019. The hotels will be practically complete. Exceltur, the group of large companies in the sector, and CEHAT, the hotel management association, agreed this Thursday that the resurgence of the sector is progressing with more and more force due to the desire to travel of citizens after 24 months of restrictions.

So much so that this Easter it is expected to recover 90% of the income prior to the pandemic and in some parts of the Spanish geography, such as the Canary Islands, even exceed them. A recovery that will continue throughout the summer and will allow the year to end with a tourism GDP of 141,681 million euros, 51,556 million more than in 2021 and just 13,000 million less than in 2019. “Spanish demand will have fully recovered and European it will still be 11% below the year before the pandemic”, according to José Luis Zoreda, executive vice president of Exceltur.

In January and February, national travelers have filled 62% of hotel beds, while international travelers have occupied the remaining 38%. Especially British, German, French and Dutch.

For these days of Easter, it will be the interior destinations and the north of Spain that will show the best results according to the forecasts of the businessmen. Especially Extremadura, Navarra and Aragon. On the coast, Cantabria, the Canary Islands and Asturias stand out.

The desire to travel of national and international citizens is above, for the moment, the loss of purchasing power that is leading to increases in the prices experienced by energy or the shopping basket. That yes, it is one of the concerns that they plan on the industry and whose impact will be greater than that which is causing the war in Ukraine, which Exceltur figures in a decrease in reserves of 7.7% at first. “What worries us are the prices” because they can reduce the purchasing power of tourists and lead to financing problems for companies, admitted Jorge Marichal, president of CEHAT.

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Hotel rates are also above 2019 levels, in March they were 7% higher. They increase especially in Andalusia and the Canary Islands, they remain in Madrid and they drop a little in Barcelona because urban tourism catches its breath more slowly than vacation tourism. Occupancy is still 30% below pre-pandemic records, but average stays are growing. According to the hotel management, reservations for the month of April reach 38% while for May and June they stand at 30%. On the islands these percentages are much higher. Because another of the changes produced by the pandemic is that hiring is increasingly last minute. Also that direct purchases in hotels be increased.

During the first quarter of the year, sales in the tourism industry are 15.8% behind those reached in 2019, better data than expected just a month ago. Canarias closed at a distance of only 3%. The labor market supports this recovery, with only a level of employment 3.5% below 2019. An encouraging figure on which Exceltur puts a but: “the rise in labor costs in the agreements indicated to the inflation”, which, like the rising cost of energy or raw materials, businessmen will not be able to fully transfer to the consumer. The tourist lobby estimates that the client will compensate a quarter of the cost, while the companies will have to assume the rest in their income statements. “Business margins will be affected,” Zoreda said while sending a message to the Government: “The need for aid to a sector cannot be postponed because it has shown resilience during the crisis.”

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