Barcelona Launches Campaign To Attract US Tourists Back After Receiving EU Clearance.
A recent announcement from the European Commission recommending that EU member states allow fully vaccinated visitors from the United States to enter Europe has created excitement and a great deal of optimism for summer trade for the tourism sector of Barcelona.
Before the pandemic struck, the Catalan capital received more American travellers than from any other country, only outstripped by it’s own domestic tourists. The Americans, due to their higher disposable income, spend the most money from any group of tourists while staying in the region.
Turismo de Barcelona, the city’s tourist board, has announced new projects to promote the city in the US at a time when a number of European destinations are also announcing they are reopening and are competing among themselves.
Figures from the Barcelona tourism board are clear: 16.9% of all tourists who visited the city and stayed in a hotel in 2019 (the last full year before the pandemic was declared) were from other parts of Spain – a total of 1,612,487 visitors. In second place, at 11.6%, were Americans (1,103,996), followed by the United Kingdom at 8% (763,627).
In terms of the number of nights spent in hotels, Americans came first, with 2,393,284 nights in 2019 (12% of the total).
The announcement by the EU has activated a series of mechanisms aimed at bringing back these visitors and trying to stop the crisis in the tourism industry from decimating it all together.
“This is excellent news for the sector and for the economy in general,” Marian Muro, the general director of Turismo de Barcelona, told EL PAÍS this week. “We believe that it will not just be the Americans who will be able to travel, but rather all of those citizens from third countries who are vaccinated.”
Last week, Muro headed up the first “post-covid in-person promotion mission” to Moscow and Saint Petersburg seeking Russians with high purchasing power who want to spend their vacations in Barcelona. The Barcelona tourism director was very clear: “This is a race. After a year of pandemic, all [destinations] are now going to seek visitors,” he said.
The plan was to try to attract French, English, and US visitors, however, the announcement from the EU has prompted a change in direction. “We have to go out and promote to recover confidence and visibility,” Muro explained. He also noted that Spain’s rollout of the green digital passport system will help launch the campaign.
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But whatever their feelings on tourism, Barcelona’s residents are about to feel the economic pain of living without a huge chunk of the 10 million foreigners who visit each year.
Unlike Italy, which is opening up to foreign tourists, Spain is waiting until July to lift its 14-day quarantine on incoming travelers — despite pressure to restart its economy that relies on tourism for 12% of its activity. The national statistics office said that zero tourists arrived in April. A year earlier, 7 million tourists spent a massive 7 billion euros in Spain.
Source: el pais