Tourism drives GDP and is responsible for 61% of economic growth in 2022

Tourism has exceeded all the expectations I had for the past year. The Omicron variant awakened the pandemic’s worst nightmares during the start of the cycle, but the historic income left over from the summer, with prices soaring due to inflation, made it easier forThe sector is making a full recovery. And you might skip it. The employers’ association Exceltur estimates that tourism activity in 2022 will reach 159.000 million euros. This means outperforming 2019 sales by 1.4% and signing a historic record.

Tourism companies are celebrating these findings and taking a lot of credit for the economic recovery after the worst of the pandemic. Specifically, Exceltur believes that 60.8% of economic growth this year corresponds to activity in this sector. Which would mean, in principle, that the weight of tourism in the GDP will be 12.2% in 2022. An importance, however, less than that achieved in 2019, when it represented 12.6%.

Does this mean that tourism companies have recovered? For Exceltur Executive Vice President Jose Luis Zorda, it is far from it. He added, during the presentation of the tourism “lobby” perspective report: “We came from two years of stopping the introduction of 175,000 million euros, which led companies to debts that weighed like a stone on the companies’ balance sheets.”

This exacerbated the lack of profitability experienced by companies due to escalating prices. Although it is true that prices in hotels, transportation and other businesses in the sector have risen considerably, their expenses have increased even more. Specifically, 28.9% is energy, 17.1% is supplies and 8.9% is labour. “It was not possible to compensate for the average price hike,” he added.

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National tourist euphoria

In general, in this strong recovery, the continuation of the local euphoria to spend the summer in Spain becomes important. He broke all records. According to the main tourism association, the national traveler was the “fortress” on which sales were boosted after overnight stays in 2019 were in hotels (+0.1%), apartments (+13.1%), camping sites (+19.4%) and rural tourism (+6.4%). ).

Because the foreign tourist is back but not like he did before covid. Our top markets, the UK (-6.8%), Germany (-12.4%) or the Nordic countries (-24.9%), are still well below that of 2019. Outperformance from other countries such as the Netherlands (+13.0% vs. 2019) in Hotel accommodation, Luxembourg (+5.6%) and Belgium (-0.5%), along with Ireland (+7.2%), Portugal (+5.9%), France (+0.6%) and Mexico (+17.6%).

Disparity is also found between sub-sectors of tourism. Hotels (+6.1%), including holiday hotels (+7.2%) outperform urban hotels (+3.5%), and the leisure offering as a whole (+0.3%) outperforms 2022 billing levels for 2019, while carriers (- 5.4%), rental cars (-3.1%) and travel agencies (-15.5%) still haven’t reached pre-pandemic sales levels.

Looking to 2023, the optimism is huge. Exceltur expects to reach 168,453 million euros, which means exceeding pre-pandemic activity levels by more than 7%. “If geopolitical risks or economic conditions do not distort it,” Zorda qualifies.

This forecast is coupled with a somewhat tepid start to the year: activity will still be 0.5% lower than in 2019.

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