Expenditure during the stay exceeded pre-pandemic levels in Destination Barcelona in March
The latest tourism activity data in Destination Barcelona have been updated
In March 2022, the tourist activity in Destination Barcelona increased sharply compared to February for the second consecutive month, after a start of the year characterised by the impact of Omicron variant and the inherent seasonality of tourism. The easing of restrictive international travel measures and in Destination Barcelona contributed to an increase in both the accommodation offer and tourism demand.
In March, the accommodation supply in Destination Barcelona grew by +7.4%, adding around +9,000 new available beds, and the global capacity stalled at only -2.6% behind the same period in 2019.
Tourism demand rebounded so that overnight stays increased by almost +37.5% MoM and they were only -19.4% lower than in 2019. In absolute terms, this recovery was basically due to the increase in demand in hotel establishments of Barcelona city, which recorded almost +400,000 overnights compared to the previous month. However, overnight stays in homes for tourist use in Barcelona city stayed quite stable with a 1.7%-MoM increase.
In Barcelona region, noteworthy was the percentage growth in rural tourism compared to February (+73.7%), well above of the campsites growth (+16.2%).
At Barcelona Airport, more than 2’7 million passengers arrived in March, which meant an increase of over +700,000 passengers (MoM) and -31.9% behind March 2019. The latter difference is much lower than the variation recorded in February (-39.3% YoY), which indicates that the recovery of passengers at the airport continued at an accelerated pace in March, thanks to the increase in the air capacity.
In contrast, in Barcelona Port, cruise passengers were still -65.6% below 2019, although being doubled during last month, also coinciding with the increase of cruise ships. As for ferry passengers, they increased by 14.6% MoM.
The number of visitors in cultural facilities in Barcelona city kept stable, although the percentage of international visitors increased from 48.9% at the beginning of the month to 63.5% at the end of the month.
Domestic tourism maintained the first position in the ranking of tourists in hotel establishments in Destination Barcelona (35.0%). However, international tourism (65.0%) regained market share (+3.2pp), because of the high prevalence of foreign tourists in Barcelona city (76.0%), where their proportion was also increased (+5.5pp MoM). By country of residence, French tourists continued being predominant in Barcelona city (8.9% of share), followed by the Americans (8.3%), and the Italians (8.3%). The Germans and the British, with shares of around 6.3%, followed them. Noteworthy is the MoM growth of the Americans (+133.8%), which were close to 70% of pre-pandemic levels.
At Barcelona Airport, the proportion of passengers on domestic flights (31.9%) was also reduced in favour of passengers on international flights (68.1%). Despite being far from the domestic flight passengers, those travelling from Italy achieved the second position, followed by those from France, the UK, and Germany.
Regarding the economic impact of tourism in Barcelona city in March, purchases with bank cards in the city shops also show how the expense in tourism activity grew over +120% compared to the same period last year, while culture and leisure expense grew by over than +50%. The use of international cards remained stable, so that 2 out of 10 card transactions in the city were foreign. On the other hand, the expense during the stay per person and day in the whole of the Destination stood at 89.8€, +20.2% over the same month in 2019.
Finally, the tourism activity job market kept improving in March: registered unemployment continued falling, and for the seventh consecutive month, it was lower than pre-pandemic levels (-17.5% compared to 2019). The new hiring increased again (+37.2%), mainly thanks to the growth of temporary contracts.
With the analysis of the different thematic areas, which offer a transversal vision of the sector, the Observatory of Tourism in Barcelona updates the monitoring of the tourism activity. This analysis complements the monthly report on the Profile and Habits of Tourists in Barcelona Destination. All data is presented in three geographical areas: Barcelona city, Barcelona region, and Destination Barcelona.