Spain forecasts a higher number of tourist arrivals this summer than pre-pandemic levels after international tourist arrivals in April were 1.2% higher than the same month in 2019, according to the country’s tourism minister.

“The data reflects an extraordinary recovery in tourism... Everything seems to indicate that we are going to break records compared to 2019,” said Hector Gomez to reporters.

The government predicts Spain will receive between 52.3 million and 54.8 million tourists between May and October, a marginal rise in the number of visitors during the same time in 2019, Reuters news agency reports, a record year for tourist arrivals.

During Easter week, marking the beginning of the high season, Spain welcomed 7.2 million international tourists in April, as per official figures.

The tourism minister said the country’s priority was to attract visitors from countries including the US, China, Japan and South Korea. The government has held a series of discussions recently with Asian airlines to boost connectivity, with a number of routes scheduled to return in June, Gomez stated.

The largest rise in foreign tourist arrivals during April came from the United States, according to official data, which make up half of the number of tourists who stay at the country’s resort hotels and short-term accommodation over summer.

Furthermore, the announcement of a snap election in Spain on 23rd July, in the middle of the holiday season, came as a major surprise to many, the Reuters report adds.

“We have no data on travel cancellations... We do not anticipate that the call for elections will have any consequences for tourism,” the tourism minister went on to say.

Before the pandemic, Spain’s tourism sector made up 12% of the country’s economy, yet it came to a standstill in the middle of 2020, along with international travel.

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