Market Intelligence
Travel and Tourism Spain

Spain Travel & Tourism

What do Spanish tourists expect when borders to the U.S. are reopened for travel and tourism?

The promotion of tourism to the United States from Spain has traditionally offered great potential. Spanish visitors to the U.S. have risen over 62 percent in the last decade (2009 to 2019) from 597,000 in 2009 to 943,000 in 2019 (a 7 percent annual increase over 2018) representing the second highest growth among the top five European outbound markets and contributing a significant $60 billion to the U.S. economy. As you can imagine, the 2020 Global pandemic impacted tourism’s rosy outlook. Spanish residents only completed 9 million trips in the second quarter of 2020, due to the confinement decreed during Spain’s state of alarm, which represented a decrease of 82.1% compared to the same period in 2019. 

Although the number of traveling Spaniards increased during the summer of 2020, local, rural tourism dominated due to global travel restrictions and increasing awareness about the virus. It is safe to say that Spaniards are currently longing to travel, and if and when the restrictions are lifted – along with the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine – domestic trips would drop from 82% in 2020 to 66% in 2021, trips to Europe would rise from 14% this year to 22% next year, and long-distance traffic would increase from 4% this year to 12% in 2021.

As of May of 2020, guidelines from the Ministry of Health were distributed to the travel and tourism industry as well as the hotel and restaurant industries with rules to follow such as:

  1. Placing hand sanitizer stations before entering an establishment
  2. Frequent deep cleaning/disinfection of establishments
  3. Mandatory use of Face Masks
  4. Plexiglass dividers for client facing staff
  5. Use of disposable garments for some staff
  6. Protocols for handling a positive case at their establishment
  7. Removal of menus or flyers and making content digital (use of QR codes)
  8. Implementation of wireless or other type of contactless payment
  9. Prohibit smoking if a social distance of 2 meters is not possible
  10. Offer of Refunds, Cancellations, by Spanish airlines (as well as the reinforcement of hygiene practices), etc.
  11. A National Curfew
  12. Confinement and travel restrictions based on the infected/Population rate by neighborhood

Similarly, Spaniards would like to see all of the above mentioned measures in place as well when travel to the U.S. resumes.  A broad rollout of vaccinations will also mitigate the fear to travel. Other recommended measures for those in the U.S. tourism sector include increasing contactless interactions through technology and strengthening access to testing and medical assistance.  Despite the many obstacles to travel, Spaniards are hopeful and optimistic that the travel and tourism sector will soon pick up where it left off.  Overall travel sentiment is high and the travel and tourism industry will begin to recover by the summer of 2021.

For more information, please contact Commercial Specialist Karen DuBois at karen.dubois@trade.gov

01/19/2021