Spain Summer in 2020: The Most Bizarre ‘Peak’ Season for the Tourism Sector
On March 8th, Women’s International Day was held in some large European cities. Although we cannot argue against the right to march supporting rights and equality, this was not a smart decision. Thousands of people marching together in the mid of a pandemic does not sound logical. No wonder hospitalizations multiplied x4 within the next days only in Madrid. Politicians valued popularity above common sense and medical advice. However, infected protesters thank not this decision today.
A Multi-Billionaire Sector at Stake
In 2019, +83 million foreign tourists spent the night in Spain while day-trippers were accounted in +40 m. However, as Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz stated, the forecast pointed out that the regular activity in tourism and leisure niches will resume regularly by the end of the year at best. The potential bankruptcy for small and large businesses depending on the regular flow of visitors seems colossal. By the time Spain reaches a virus-free status, most businesses will not be able to reopen.
Revenue from the tourism and travel sectors surpassed largely € 140 b. in 2019, grossing around 15% of Spain’s GDP. Despite the fall seasonal shortage of visitors, summer usually overcompensates. In fact, some months ago, a usual claim by top destinations inhabitants focused over-tourism as a detriment to the environment and the citizens’ comfort. Clearly, these issues will not be of concern in the foreseeable future of 2020. The high season for tourism, summer, will have zero activity compared to the standards.
Deserted Beaches and Under-tourism
Top destinations of the likes of Benidorm, Magaluf, or Ibiza will not be crowded for a long time. Since there is no official date to come back to regular activities, the forecasts are all there is for now. SARS-CoV-2 hard-hit countries, such as the USA, Italy, and Spain should escalate the lift of restrictions to avoid yet more outbreaks. Likely, there will be no arguments about umbrellas and spots on the front line of the beaches this summer.
Tourism sustains the economy of top destinations. Even the businesses not directly related or dependant on tourists, like beauty salons, profit from the constant flow of visitors. The more people walking in town, the more likely a potential customer arrives. Social distancing, though, changes the mechanics we know, reducing the inflow to zero. Therefore, non-essential services are bashed with the lockdown and the restraints. To make it worse, it is yet too soon to know when their businesses will be allowed to reopen.
Up to €10.400 Fines Are the Everyday Setback
There is a shortlist of fines for offenders found in noncompliance with the lockdown restrictions. The punishment for our pockets may range from €600 to €10.400, depending on the offense. People are not authorized to move from one place to another or gather during this period. However, some people claim that these fines may be excessive, for instance, in the case of being found in the street without due justification. Such measures may be an attempt by the government to compensate for the expenses to contain the outbreak.
Delivery services moving medical items urgently have also been fined, €1500 as reported in recent news, for allegedly parking incorrectly. It is needless to mention they would not be disrupting traffic during the lockdown in any way. When measures meant to assure citizens comply with the law are taken beyond common sense, the general feeling is of distrust in the lawmakers. Encouraging anything but synergy within the population is counterproductive, given the current nationwide crisis we have to struggle with.