The tourism sector of the Costa Daurada recovers but overnight stays drop
A year of recovery. This is how Berta Cabré, president of the Tarragona Province Hospitality and Tourism Business Federation (FEHT), described the tourist season yesterday. In a press conference, the sector showed its satisfaction and made a positive assessment of this 2022, the first post-pandemic year. Cabré was accompanied by Meritxell Roigé, president of the Tourist Board of the Tarragona Provincial Council, who analyzed the activity at Reus Airport.
According to data from the Tourism Data System of the Observatori de Turisme del Departament d'Innovació Turística d'Eurecat, from January 1 to September 30, overnight stays decreased compared to the 2019 season, the reference when making this balance since it was the last year in which it was possible to work normally. «We are happy, we cannot deny it after the situation where we came from. We have achieved more than 17 and a half million overnight stays. A spectacular figure that does not reach that of 2019. Despite this, we are satisfied because we came from a figure of low activity”, said Cabré.
According to the observatory, in the province of Tarragona there have been 17,559,344 overnight stays (-7.6%): 16,213,635 (-9.1%) in the Costa Daurada and 1,345,709 (+15.6%) in Terres de l'Ebre. As for types of accommodation, in Tarragona hotels have registered 8,475,054 overnight stays (-10.1%), campsites, 7,009,860 (-5%) and apartments, 1,980,314 (-5.5%) . On the Costa Daurada, hotels accounted for 7,820,427 (-11.6%), campsites, 6,374,708 (-7.3%) and apartments, 1,967,128 (-4.7%). Finally, in Terres de l'Ebre, hotels had 654,627 (+12.5%) overnight stays, campsites 635,152 (+26.5%) and apartments 13,186 (-58.8%).
“After the two worst years in the history of tourism, 2022 we can qualify as correct. Although we have not yet managed to recover the figures for overnight stays from 2019, we have seen how, with the end of the pandemic, visitors have returned to our destination. For the entire sector it was a challenge to recover as soon as possible. We have had some complications such as the search for professionals or the increase in energy costs and supplies that, finally, will mean that the operating accounts are not as positive as we needed », he pointed out.
The president also regretted not having reached the average stay that was achieved in 2019 and mentioned how the war between Ukraine and Russia has affected, since there have been no Russian tourists, a leading market at the time on the Costa Daurada, nor from Eastern Europe. “All establishments have been able to open and offer our services normally. Although in the first months of the year there were limitations that have been noted in some markets. Also in the first fortnight of September we have had fewer visitors due to the start of the school year in Catalonia. They were two weeks in which many Catalan families usually traveled and this has been noticed in the overnight stays, "explained Cabré.
This season the national market has grown and stands at 58.2%, while the foreign market has not yet recovered compared to the figures of three years ago. “In a year without Covid we have 50% national tourism and 50% international tourism, this year we see that we are getting closer again with more than 40% foreigners,” he said.
For international markets, the French has dropped 1.9% (2,192,000); the British, 18.8% (1,622,000); the Dutch, 7.4% (887,000); German, 14.7% (560,000); the Belgian, 1.6% (336,000); the Italian, 7% (87,000) and the Russian, 97.7% (28,000). The good news is the rise of the Irish market with 15% (884,000).
«The season is still going on, many establishments are still open and we cannot end the tourist year now but it will end in December. We expect to welcome visitors at this time of year, "said the president, who was confident in recovering the British and German tourists, who travel a lot in the summer preseason and postseason.
As for 2023, the sector recognized that the feeling they have is of uncertainty due to the war and the energy crisis. "We are very aware that the macroeconomic situation in Europe will cause families to lose purchasing power and, therefore, they will be able to allocate less budget to their vacations and leisure," he explained. Despite the situation, the FEHT reaffirmed the sector's commitment to invest in its establishments. “All the improvements are focused on sustainability and increasing services to offer more quality to our visitors. During the pandemic, some 70 million euros were invested: hotels, 45 million, campsites, 20 million and apartments, 5 million », he pointed out.
Cabré concluded that, although the scenario is not the best, the sector is lively. «Tourism is the main socio-economic engine of the province of Tarragona. We generate a specific tourism GDP and an impact of 25.70% with respect to the total », he assured.
Regarding the activity of the Reus Airport, in the same period from January to September, a total of 811,412 users have been registered, a figure that represents a recovery of 85.9% compared to 2019.
A positive trend, as highlighted by Meritxell Roigé, who wanted to value public-private collaboration to obtain these results. "Not only have we worked to position the destination, we have also intensified the relationship with companies and have promoted co-marketing agreements to ensure that, when deciding to open or maintain routes by airlines, our airport was an interesting, viable and safe choice. With the current context of energy crisis and other conditioning factors, the figures confirm that this objective has been achieved. Undoubtedly, the recovery of international tourism on the Costa Daurada has passed through Reus Airport this year", remarked the president of the Tourist Board of the Tarragona Provincial Council, who advanced that in 2023 "there will be news".