The international restrictions on mobility caused by the need to combat the COVID-19 pandemic are not particularly affecting Spain as a destination, as reflected in various recently published studies that measure the intention of international tourists to travel again.
"Our image has not been harmed and there is a desire of tourists to travel to Spain again", stated the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, at the opening of the virtual conference "Reset and Restart: New opportunities for a sector of the future", organized by Turespaña and to which more than 4,000 people have registered.
Despite the uncertainties facing the sector in 2021, the minister has emphasized the certainties that allow us to be optimistic about the future. "The first certainty is the availability of vaccines and the start of vaccination in many countries that offer a horizon of hope to immunize a majority of the population that would be in a position to travel safely by the end of spring, where we hope to be immunized between 30 and 40% of the population. The second certainty is that we know that the recovery of mobility will bring about a rapid reactivation of tourism ”. In this recovery stage, the minister stressed, the network of Tourism Offices abroad will play a leadership role, as Turespaña is already demonstrating with its 'Travel Safe' communication strategy, which is positioning Spain as a prescriber of safe travel. Maroto has also valued the leadership exercised by Spain at the international level to favor mobility in a safe way with initiatives such as tests at origin or tourist corridors.
"We must redouble our efforts to convey a message of confidence abroad because we know that tourists want to come to Spain and that, if they are provided with the necessary security conditions, they are willing to do so", he remarked.
This conclusion is based on the results of reports such as those published regularly by the European Travel Commission. According to its latest wave published this January, 52% of Europeans plan to travel in the next six months, 67% feel safe to enjoy their trip with strict health and safety protocols and Spain is still the country preferred to travel, the minister has summarized.
Also the data from the Study of Positioning of Spain as a Tourist Destination that Turespaña has jointly prepared with the Elcano Institute show that Spain is the second preferred destination for future trips after Italy.
Tourism modernization and competitiveness plan
While the recovery arrives, the Government is already working on a plan to modernize and competitive the tourism sector that will have an investment of 3.4 billion euros in the next three years from the European recovery fund Next Generation.
The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, presented at the same conference the five lines of action on which this plan pivots, which will allow us to finally address the challenges that the sector had been facing for a long time and that the pandemic has accelerated, such as they are the need for diversity and more seasonally adjusted our offer.
"Spain concentrates 45% international visits between June and September, while the destinations where 11 million international visits are concentrated per year represent less than one percent of our population," Valdés said by way of example. “Spain is a leader and will continue to be in sun and beach products. But there is room for improvement to diversify our product, as more and more people visit us for our gastronomy, for our alternative leisure, to practice winter sports or participate in cultural visits.
The capacity for growth that we have in short-stay visits is also great ”, he pointed out.
The five axes on which the modernization and competitiveness plan of the tourism sector is structured are, as explained by the Secretary of State, the sustainability of destinations; tourism product development; digitization; resilience strategies in non-peninsular territories and actions regarding competitiveness.
Sustainability, the flagship
The flagship of the plan will be the Tourism Sustainability Plans, which will have an investment of more than 1,800 million euros and will be destined to modernize pioneering destinations, develop inland destinations and promote urban destinations, always from the perspective of sustainability from a triple dimension: environmental, socio-economic and territorial.
The second axis, with an investment of close to 100 million euros, has to do with a product development strategy that will be carried out through public-private collaboration and the support of the Secretary of State for Tourism to tourism clubs. product to promote booming activities such as wine tourism, cycle tourism, congress or cultural tourism, among others.
To advance in the digitization of the sector, the plan foresees 375 million euros to which companies that present projects and innovative solutions associated, for example, to the management of reserves, cybersecurity or the management of their capacities will be able to choose.
The resilience strategies for the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands contemplate 100 million euros for each of the Communities and another 10 million for each of the autonomous cities.
Finally, the plan contemplates various actions to improve the competitiveness of the sector, helping companies in their green transition, investing in the conservation of historical heritage for tourist use and ordering the supply of Homes for Tourist Use.