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Spain saw 40% drop in UK holidaymakers due to travel restrictions

The number of UK holidaymakers to Spain this summer was 40 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels, new data shows.

Overall international arrivals to the country were also half of those that visited in the summer of 2019, the figures from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys showed.

Analyst Juan Gomez said: “This summer Spain was vastly impacted by the UK travel restrictions, which resulted in a 40.3 per cent drop in arrival numbers compared to 2019, despite the relaxation of these in August.”

The seat capacity on flights from the UK was around 49 per cent of 2019 levels.

As Spain has remained on the UK government’s amber list, many travellers have been put off by the expensive PCR testing and confusing admin required – not to mention worries that the destination could move on to the red list, resulting in expensive hotel quarantine on return.

“There wasn’t a boom in bookings by British nationals [when fully vaccinated visitors were allowed travel to Spain without quarantining upon return], but they have been coming in at a constant rate ever since then,” a spokesperson for Spanish hotel chain Riu told El País.

“We noticed a drop in bookings by the British market following the decision to include the Balearic Islands on the amber list once again, but things have been stabilizing since then. The changes in restrictions are affecting all source markets,” a source at the chain Playasol Ibiza Hotels told the Spanish newspaper.

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However, there was growth in tourist numbers from Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands coming into Spain, compared to the summer before the pandemic – while the country’s domestic tourism almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

”The remaining part of the year looks promising. Tickets confirmed for travel to Spain from September to December are already at 50% of what was traditionally booked now,” said Gomez.

“Considering how short the lead booking times have become, it wouldn´t be surprising to see many visitors book last-minute escapes to Spain this autumn.”