Spain furious as German and French tourists threaten to fuel new Covid clusters

Spain: Residents criticises German and French tourists

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Spain hopes foreign tourism can rebound to half its pre-pandemic levels this year, the Government said on Monday, as a wave of German holidaymakers hit Mallorca’s white-sand beaches after Berlin eased restrictions on returnees. International tourism to Spain plunged 80 percent to 19 million visitors last year – the lowest since 1969 – as coronavirus travel restrictions took their toll on the world’s second most visited country. But many Spaniards are frustrated that foreign tourists can fly to the islands when most people in mainland Spain remain stuck at home due to a travel ban. Carlos Abella, Secretary of the tourist sector, has said the move does not make sense.

Speaking to France 24, Mr Abella said: “It doesn’t make any sense for a German citizen to be able to travel here from Berlin or a French prson from Paris to Madrid when a Madrid resident can’t get to Toledo which is 60km away from here.

“Particularly when there is a Covid rate lower than in many other countries.”

One resident in Marseille added: “The Spaniards are really strict about wearing masks.

“If you expect that you can go out and meet people, go to a restaurant, you can really have a social life.”

However, a Spanish resident disagreed and said: “The situation is intolerable and outrageous.

“Residents are taking safety measures to prevent infection and they have to watch as the people you see outside don’t respect them at all.

“It’s really annoying.”

It comes as tourism arrivals to Spain plummeted 93.6 percent year-on-year in February as visitors stayed away from bars and beaches in what is usually the world’s second most visited country.

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International tourism to Spain plunged 80 percent to 19 million visitors last year – the lowest since 1969 – as coronavirus curbs took their toll.

That trend continued in the first two months of 2021, data from the National Statistics Institute showed on Tuesday, in further bad news for a country that used to get over a tenth of its gross domestic product from tourism.

Spain received 284,311 foreign tourists in February, 34.6 percent less than in January. International tourism revenues dropped 93.3 percent year on year in February, putting many business in jeopardy.


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While most tourists came from France, one in four travellers in February, the number of French fell 87.4 percent from February 2020, the last month before the pandemic hit.

Many French people, weary of their own lockdown, have been flocking over the border to enjoy open bars and restaurants in areas such as Madrid.

Germans, who have started going back to Mallorca, took second spot.

Estimates from the Funcas think tank show the tourism sector’s contribution to Spain’s economy slumped to between 4 percent and 5 percent last year from around 12 percent in 2019, jeopardising many businesses.

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