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Southern Europe plans 'tourism recovery' strategy; Spain praised for its 'excellent organisation'
21 July 2020 @ 12:51

TOURISM in southern Europe needs more 'proactivity' to keep up its momentum, but Spain has a 'good structure and base', is the verdict that has come out of the World Tourism Organisation EURAGORA Forum in Portugal.

Its Europe regional commission head, Alessandra Priante, said countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece, which had become mature and established destinations, had long had a 'certain tendency towards passivity' given that their influxes of tourists have always 'just turned up' without any effort having to be made.

The Covid-19 pandemic will 'seriously' change the way people enjoy their holidays in the future, Signora Priante says, as a result of a social, cultural and mental crossroads that the global outbreak has created.

“Masks and social distancing are the antithesis to what tourism traditionally means – a thirst for new experiences, getting to know and trust other people – and yet the rules now tell us to do exactly the opposite: Keep our distance, not to trust people you don't know, and so on,” she says.

“For southern Europe, especially mature tourism markets like Spain, Italy and Greece, hardly has to do anything to sell itself to holidaymakers, but now the time has come to plan better and be more proactive.”

This summer could be a lean one on the holiday front – by now, practically every flight seat, hotel or resort room and package tour space should have been sold – and, worldwide, tourism is expected to be 70% lower than in summer 2019 when, had the pandemic not occurred, the forecasts were for 4% growth.

Spain, for several consecutive years, has seen its tourist numbers rocket, and typically, visitors year-round total about double the resident population, with summer being peak season, especially for northern Europeans seeking sunshine and beaches.

Even then, Spain's decades-long reputation, its closer proximity in the age of low-cost, less-complicated flights and the internet, and its popularity with holiday-home owners, means it is less likely to suffer as much as other destinations which have been even harder hit by the pandemic and which are largely viewed as sight-seeing spots, which travellers may decide to shelve visiting until later in the year if the virus is suitably contained.

Internationally, the tourism industry is purely looking at 'survival' in 2020, but hopes to come back with a bang in 2021 – which will be much easier for those European countries which are now opening their borders, Spain included.



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