In March 2010, when financial crisis was at its deepest, Turespaña unveiled its new promotional slogan - ‘I Need Spain’. The butt of some jokes on account of what could be added - I need Spain like a ... (add as applicable) - the campaign was nevertheless deemed successful. Need is a powerful word, and need has never been greater than it is right now.
In tourism terms, there is only so much comparison between the financial and Covid crises. Tourism experienced a slump because of the financial crisis, but it didn’t fall off the cliff. Where a comparison may prove to be suitable is in the duration. It took four to five years for tourist numbers to truly recover.
Hopes for a swifter recovery from the current crisis may be dashed by a tourism long Covid. Trust is being placed in more travel-friendly rules, vaccination, increased willingness to travel and a living with Covid which may, according to experts, resemble the common cold by spring next year.
Spain’s tourism industry will trust in all this. Spain needs foreign tourists. The figures don’t lie. Although the Balearics have performed much better in attracting foreign tourists than other regions, the numbers are way down. Nationally, foreign overnight stays were only some 40% of 2019’s during the summer.
A hoped-for end-of-year buoyancy is looking most unlikely, making further extension to ERTE furlough essential. The financial crisis didn’t have ERTE. It has allowed businesses and jobs to survive Covid. But for how much longer?