Spanish tourism, before a prodigious new decade?

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Spanish tourism, before a prodigious new decade?

Current generations have never experienced a pandemic, and, therefore, we have not experienced the exit from a pandemic either. But just like a century ago, after living the First World War and the Spanish flu, our predecessors resurfaced with a new yearning for normalcy and to recover a better life, our post-Covid reality today also shows a profound transformation of society and an enormous desire to recover our lives.

In it tourism fieldwhich is nothing but a reflection of society, these transformations materialize in a true fever for traveling and living experiences with purpose, registering trends such as the acceleration of the digitization of companies and destinations, with a growth in online purchases and the digital experience in the hotel and the destination, as well as a preference for superior and even luxury products (the segment that has suffered the least from the crisis).

We also see a widespread awareness of sustainabilitywith clients that prioritize experiences that have a positive impact on the planet and society, and companies that have evolved to meet the United Nations sustainable development goals, which are no longer just an aspirational standard, but also an obligation marked by the growing regulation on the matter —of which we are pleased— and a business advantage for the companies that we are clearly advancing in it.

An immediate recovery of the tourism sector

On the other hand, as has been seen at other times in our history (such as after the 9/11 attacks or the SARS or influenza A pandemic), the resilience of tourism demand has been confirmed with an immediate and rapid recovery from the removal of mobility restrictions. And so strong that, without forgetting prudence, many experts already affirm that we could have the best summer season in history.

With the pandemic practically over and with the societies more prepared to live with possible new outbreaks, we have been observing a strong upward trend (which reminds us of the long-awaited recovery in uve), confirmed in global terms during a Holy Week that has exceeded the number of travelers and the expenditure made by them compared to 2019.

The resilience of tourism demand has been confirmed with a recovery after the removal of mobility restrictions

In this way, the hotel sector has had a better than expected Easter week, with occupancy reaching 90% in the main Spanish destinations. This recovery curve associated with the increase in demand is even more intense in those companies that have maintained a firm digitalization and online distribution strategy, as well as a commitment to superior brands and products and experiences, which have proven to be more resilient. All this makes us anticipate a record summer season and revise upwards the 2022 closing scenario with a greater recovery in tourist activity compared to 2019.

However, despite the positive data, the Spanish tourism sector remains alert, applying everything learned during this pandemic in terms of health security, efficiency, digitization and sustainabilityoffering an example of responsibility that is also reflected when companies prioritize the recovery of employment even ahead of the total recovery of turnover.

Photo: EFE/Daniel Pérez.

The sector still needs help

But tourism continues to need aid, since the urgent reconversion in sustainable and digital key required by our tourism model (and what happens, among other priority actions, to address the renovation and repositioning of the so-called pioneer destinations on the Spanish coast) cannot be financed or carried out by companies without the help of public administrations.

The sector is excited about this moment of recovery that some are beginning to call ‘the new Roaring Twenties’

Although not even the persistence of uncertainties linked to the ukrainian war and the inflationary spiral that weighs down our margins has been able to truncate the rise in tourist demand, we cannot forget that we are coming from two devastating years, with unprecedented losses for all operators and with many of them in serious financial difficulties, and that we are looking at a new post-covid environment that is much more demanding and competitive.

For this reason, the sector is excited, although cautious, about this moment of spectacular recoverywhich some are already beginning to call ‘the new Roaring Twenties’.

* Gabriel Escarrer He is CEO and Vice President of Melia Hotels.

Current generations have never experienced a pandemic, and, therefore, we have not experienced the exit from a pandemic either. But just like a century ago, after living the First World War and the Spanish flu, our predecessors resurfaced with a new yearning for normalcy and to recover a better life, our post-Covid reality today also shows a profound transformation of society and an enormous desire to recover our lives.

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