The strict measures taken by the Spanish authorities to contain the spread of the coronavirus had a sharp downside. The closed borders practically ended the number of visitors from abroad.
In the months following the strict quarantine, the sector has made enormous efforts to adapt quickly with all kinds of measures to ensure the safety of visitors and to ensure that Spain can welcome tourists while at the same time preventing the spread of COVID-19.
There is continuous cooperation between Spanish and British authorities with support from the tourism sector, so that decisions are taken or adapted solely on the basis of epidemiological criteria. This could be a success when a safe tourist corridor was established between the Canary Islands and the UK. Visitors were welcomed due to the low Covid-19 infection rate and a comprehensive evaluation of the island’s safety procedures and tourist infrastructure.’
It was a pity that for the second time the UK entered a nationwide quarantine. The prospects for 2021 are better and Spain is now better equipped to fight the virus and ready to receive tourists.
To attract tourists back to Spain, programs are being set up everywhere to celebrate jubileums. In addition, several new openings are organised and attractions are set up and there are new offers in the field of sustainable and rural tourism.
First of all, Spain celebrates Xacobeo 2021, the First Holy Year of Compostela in 11 years. In such a Holy year a special indulgence (the anniversary plate) and other spiritual favors can be obtained. Jacobin years are only 14 times a century and are a highlight of everything the Camino de Santiago represents.
In Galicia, in particular, where the Cathedral of Santiago is the terminus of the pilgrim route Camino de Santiago, a number of activities related to this route are organised. Below are concerts, seminars and exhibitions. 2021 is brought as the ideal time to walk the Camino.
The cathedral’s 800th anniversary will then be celebrated in Burgos in July 2021. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this occasion, the city organises cultural activities such as exhibitions, concerts and conferences during 2021.
The city of Toledo is also celebrating its own 800th birthday. 800 years ago, Alfonso X The Wise was born. The municipality of Toledo has already announced a full programme of activities.
The Reina Sofía museum in Madrid is celebrating its 30th birthday. On this occasion, the new exhibition opens ‘Mondrian and the style’, aimed at the Dutch painter on 11 November and runs until 1 March 2021.
Catalonia will introduce a new tourist route by the end of 2020 with the aim of welcoming international tourists in 2021. The Grand Tour of Catalonia is a circular, scenic route that visitors get the best of art, history, gastronomy and landscapes, people and traditions, and learn about the life of Gaudí, and Dalí.
Madrid will welcome luxury tourists next year with the opening of a new luxury shopping centre, the Galería Canalejas. The first shops and boutiques opened last October, but new shops will be added in the first half of 2021.
Tenerife hopes to attract a wave of new adventurous tourists in 2021 with the launch of the new route 0.4.0. This path has recently been opened and offers the largest height difference in Spain. The 56 km long track is made for hikers and runners and starts on the beach of El Socorro and leads through rural areas to the top of the high mountain of Spain, the Teide.
Meanwhile, next year on the island of Menorca, a new prehistoric cave will open for visitors. Cova de S’aigu is a prehistoric cave with Graves. The cave has 18th-century inscriptions, a variety of geological formations and a large crystal clear lake.
The gastronomy of Spain has always lured visitors to the coast and in 2021 it will be no different. The region of Murcia retains its title as the Spanish capital of gastronomy in 2021 and hosts a programme of one thousand and one activities, including a travelling vegetable Museum, gastronomic routes through the region and culinary festivals.
Sustainable tourism will become more important in 2021 than ever now that the world of coronacrisis is waking up to the reality of the climate crisis. Spain is already well on the way to creating different Sustainable Destinations.
The Balearic Islands are going to ban disposable plastic for consumers from March 2021 in order to better protect the environment. The city of Palma de Mallorca will also be a smart tourist destination with the ambitious project ‘plan Impulso Palma’. This includes technological solutions, stimulating the digitisation of the city, creating new sustainability and quality control and implementing safety and hygiene programmes and protocols. A total of EUR 975 000 is invested in the project.
In 2021, Valencia is also a suitable destination for environmentally conscious travellers by being the first city in the world to verify the CO2 emissions from tourism activities. The city aims to become a carbon neutral destination by 2025 with a comprehensive package of measures and initiatives.