The Easter holidays are usually a time when Britons in droves pack their bags and go on holiday in the sun. Spain is one of the top UK destinations, attracting 18.08 million Britons in 2019 alone according to Statitsa, and reported positive inflation thanks to an increase in tourism during the last Easter holidays of last year .
However, the outlook for this year is much bleaker, with some of the country’s top vacation destinations and the beachside retreats that accompany them are dormant.
Images have surfaced of some of the country’s most popular tourist beaches appearing very lonely.
Lockdown measures are in place around the world, with strict rules enforced in Spain on March 14 and similar measures introduced later in the UK on March 23.
Among many areas, Spain’s tourism, which is its third largest industry, has been severely affected by the global pandemic.
According to a Statista survey conducted between February 27 and March 2, 15% of the population aged 18 to 24 said they would cancel their vacations because of the virus, two points more than among those polled 55 years or older. .
READ MORE: Holidays in Spain: When will Brits be able to vacation in Spain again?
Moreover, the Confederation of Spanish Hoteliers reported that reservations were already faltering in February. Bookings have fallen by 20-30% in Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic and Canary Islands compared to 2019.
Meanwhile, hotel bookings also fell 24% in Madrid and 20% in Barcelona.
“The impact is really big, especially on conferences and visitors traveling long distances,” said Ramón Estalella, spokesperson for the confederation.
“If it’s just for a month, the impact won’t be that great once confidence is restored. But it is impossible to predict.
“Every day there are new announcements from different countries and regions and government actions that change the outlook.”
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Cancellations of a number of major events, including the Malaga Film Festival, football league matches and a number of musical performances, also resulted in a decrease in pedestrian traffic to the country ahead of the lockdown measures. .
Since then, the Spanish government has closed its borders to outside countries in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, British tourists are urged to stay at home amid the lockdown measures.
The FCO currently has a travel warning in place urging Britons to avoid non-essential travel – this has been extended “indefinitely”.
Feeling the ripple effects of pandemic fear, border closures and preventative lockdowns, airlines and vacation operators have started canceling scheduled trips.
Airlines including Jet2 have grounded all commercial flights, while other big names such as British Airways, easyJet and Virgin continue to fly, but only as part of a vital repatriation effort in partnership with the government.
TUI Holidays, which specializes in many Spanish destinations, announced this week that it will suspend all public holidays for the next five weeks.
So when will the British be allowed to travel to Spain again?
As it stands, Spain remains in the midst of COVID-19, currently reporting more than 161,000 confirmed cases and 16,353 deaths as a result.
At the time of writing, it is the second worst affected country in the world according to published figures.
British Businesses Association Benidorm President Karen Maling Cowles said she was not sure British tourism would pick up for a few months.
She told The Sun Online Travel: “We must not raise people’s hopes – until the virus is contained, it is not in our best interests.
“I don’t personally think we’re going to start recovering from this until June or July and even maybe it’s early.
“But I don’t see UK tourism happening until September.”