The tourist season shows signs of recovery, still far from the pre-pandemic figures, but with a rising level. This is how the main association of travel agencies in Spain, Acave, values the opening of the summer, which this past week has valued the start of a crucial campaign for the travel industry.
According to their data, Spanish travel reservations for this next season have increased by more than 10% compared to the same period in 2020, although they still remain more than 50% below those of the summer before the pandemic.
Preferences: Nearby destinations gain quota
“Although the advance in vaccination and the European passport encourage long-distance destinations more than expected, the survey carried out each year by ACAVe among its more than 450 associated travel agencies shows that national and European destinations will continue to be the most requested also this summer “, they point out. Acave highlights that the closure to tourism of some destinations and the restrictions of many countries, such as the United Kingdom, continue to be the main limitations for the reactivation.
The data confirm that this year Spanish travelers will maintain this trend and last minute bookings will continue to be recorded throughout the summer. According to the Acave survey, approximately 81% of reservations for this summer will enter less than or equal to 1 month before the trip. In fact, it is estimated that reservations in the ‘last minute’ category (less than 2 weeks in advance) will account for 37% of the total. The agencies consulted attribute the lack of advance notice to the fear of travelers of possible changes in regulations or the risk of a change in the circumstances of the pandemic, as happened last summer.
Forecasts: Up to four years to return to normal
All in all, Sarrate has insisted on his thesis that the full recovery of the sector is still far off, and that, despite the fact that vaccination is progressing at a good pace, it may still take “between two and a half and four years” to reach pre-pandemic levels. , has commented. In this sense, Sarrate has been confident that the veto on Russian tourists will be lifted, validating the Russian Sputnik vaccine, that the United Kingdom will green Spain as a safe health market, that tourism with the United States will be reactivated, that there will be a cruise tourism rebound and that Imserso trips also recover to give life to the sector in the low season.
Protection measures: Extend ERTE until the end of 2021
“We have a long season ahead of us. July, August and September have always been very good,” added Serrate, who has also asked the Government and social agents to extend the ERTE until December 31 to help travel agencies. As for international travel, the Spanish who will embark on this type of trip this summer will choose destinations such as the Maldives, Costa Rica and the Caribbean, giving priority to those countries that facilitate the entry of tourists without quarantines and with very clear health requirements, such as vaccination certificates or negative PCR.
Travel vouchers: Fight with airlines for the return of canceled flights
Both Sarrate and the manager of Acave, Catiana Tur, have highlighted the concern of travel agencies about the massive return of travel vouchers that these companies, the majority of SMEs, face. The two leaders have insisted that travel providers, mainly airlines, are preventing the return of trips canceled by the pandemic. Airlines such as Ryanair, Air Europa or Aero México, among others, still owe 150 million euros to the agencies for flights abolished by the anti-covid restrictions. An amount that consumers can now claim and those travel agencies have to assume in the first instance.