Spain has been brutally hit with the novel coronavirus and faced a difficult challenge in controlling the spread of the deadly virus. The confirmed number of cases in the country amounted to over 3.5 million – one of the highest in all of Europe. The virus spread all over the country with Madrid seeing the highest with cases over 600 thousand people, as per reports in statista.
Just like any other country, the virus badly affected the tourism sector which included the overseas patients seeking medical treatment in Spain. According to a report in EURACTIV’s partner EFE, the first quarter of 2021 witnessed an 82% drop in the number of tourists as compared to 2020 (from 10.6 million to 1.8 million).
According to the INE, Spain is among the favorite destinations of British people and it fell by 96% due to the outbreak in the country. According to the same report, the largest group of tourists hailing from France fell down to 69% followed by Germany 74% and Italy 79%.
The pandemic profoundly affected the hospitality industry causing unemployment which urged the Spanish government to implement a temporary lay-off scheme known as ERTE. It protected the jobs of over 3 million people in the same sector in the year 2020.
Spain’s economy is highly dependent on its tourism industry but when the country was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, it fell with a 10.8 percent drop in GDP.
When the virus jolted Italy with the massive outburst, it quickly passed the infection to Spain. At one time, Spain became the country with the second-highest number of cases below Russia. Many waves were witnessed and the mortality rate also surged. It forced the government to take strict actions and imply a nationwide lockdown. When the second wave was detected, Spain became one of the leading countries with 1,628,208 cases and 44,668 deaths.
However, with the availability of vaccination, the country is now looking to revive the economic sector by boosting tourism. Spain reopened its borders last month for people around the world who have been vaccinated. For European citizens who are still unvaccinated, Spain allowed the travel with the tourist showing a negative PCR test of fewer than 72 hours.
According to RFI, Spain hosted 83 million visitors in 2019, before the outbreak of the virus, and it plummeted by 77 percent in the next year, 2020. Now, the country sees the return of foreign tourists.
The president of the Union of Travel Agencies (Unav), José Luis Prieto, marked it as a ‘spectacular recovery’. However, the United Kingdom (UK) is still keeping Spain on a blacklist of high-risk countries. The British people still have to undergo a number of expensive tests and maintain a five-day quarantine upon their return from Spain.
Hotels and restaurants at hot favorite destinations such as Costa del Sol and the Canary Islands have been reopened after months of closure.
With French and Germans being the most welcomed tourists in Spain, both countries have been excluded from the high-risk list of Spain. It even allows the tourists to enter without proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test.