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TOURISM

British tourists boost Spain’s holiday arrivals in 2022

The number of tourists coming to Spain rose over eightfold during the first quarter compared to last year, boosted by returning British holidaymakers, Spain's national statistics agency INE said Thursday.

British tourists boost Spain's holiday arrivals in 2022
A group of young holidaymakers carry inflatables as they walk along the promenade of the seaside resort of Benidorm. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

Tourist arrivals reached 9.7 million between January and March 2022, up from 1.2 million a year back, INE reported.

Arrivals from Britain  — Spain’s largest market — stood at 1.8 million, nearly 30 times the figure in Q1 2021.

“Month after month, Spain’s tourism industry continues to consolidate itself,” Tourism Minister María Reyes Maroto said in a statement, adding she was “optimistic” for the rest of the year.

While the number of tourists flocking to Spain in March hit 4 million, up from 491,000 in the same month last year, the figure was still 71 percent of the number recorded in March 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Spanish government recently extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel from most third countries until May 15th, meaning that British and other non-EU tourists who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recently recovered from the illness cannot go on holiday to Spain yet.

Spanish authorities did add however that they are preparing the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, which could lead to a further increase in the number of British and other international holidaymakers in the months to come. 

The world’s second most visited country before the pandemic with 83.5 million visitors in 2019, Spain welcomed just 19 million tourists in 2020.

The figure rose to 31.1 million in 2021, far below the government’s forecast of 45 million arrivals.

Despite the huge rise in tourist arrivals from the UK when comparing Q1 2021 and Q2 2022, the number of British holidaymakers coming to Spain is still 37 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Cabin crew staff to extend Spain strike by 12 days

A cabin crew strike at EasyJet and Ryanair saw 15 flights to and from Spain cancelled and 175 others delayed Saturday, as staff at the Irish airline announced 12 more days of stoppages.

Cabin crew staff to extend Spain strike by 12 days

The strike at the two low-cost airlines over pay and working conditions began as European schools started breaking up for the summer, creating headaches for both holidaymakers and the aviation sector.

By 1:00 pm (1100 GMT) on Saturday, 10 Ryanair and five EasyJet flights had been cancelled and 175 flights delayed, of which 123 Ryanair and 52 EasyJet, unions said in a statement.

The series of rolling strikes by Ryanair cabin crew in Spain — where there are some 1,900 employees –began on June 24, with EasyJet staff joining on Friday.

READ ALSO: Ryanair strike in Spain: 54 flights cancelled and 300 delayed on Thursday

Ryanair’s USO union rep said the new stoppages would take place in three four-day stretches: July 12 to 15, July 18 to 21, and July 25 to 28 at the 10 Spanish airports where Ryanair operates.

“After six days of strike and in view of the unwillingness of the company to listen to its staff and its preference for leaving thousands of passengers grounded rather than sitting down to negotiate an agreement under Spanish law, we have been forced to call new strike days,” said USO’s Lidia Arasanz.

She said the initial strike, which consisted of two three-day stretches, had seen “more than 200 flights cancelled and almost 1,000 delays”, with the upcoming stoppages likely to create similar levels of disruption.

EasyJet crew have pledged to strike during the first three weekends of July to demand parity in working conditions in line with other European airlines.

The strikes are a headache for the aviation sector, which has struggled to recruit people after massive layoffs during the Covid pandemic.

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