International tourism grows in Destination Barcelona in February 2022
The latest tourism activity data in Destination Barcelona have been updated
In February 2022, the tourist activity in Destination Barcelona increased sharply compared to January, after two months of falls due to the irruption of Omicron and the inherent seasonality of tourism. Events such as the Mobile World Congress contributed to an increase in both the accommodation offer and tourism demand.
In February, the accommodation supply in hotel establishments in Destination Barcelona grew by +7.9%, adding almost 6,000 new available beds, and the global capacity stalled at only -5.7% behind the same period in 2019.
Tourism demand rebounded so that overnight stays increased by almost +40% MoM and they were only -25% lower than in 2019. This recovery was basically due to the increase in demand in hotel establishments, which recorded a +43.9%-increase in overnights compared to the previous month in Barcelona region, and +40.2% in Barcelona city. However, overnight stays in homes for tourist use in Barcelona city were stagnated and recorded fewer overnight stays than in the previous month (-0.65%). On the other hand, noteworthy was the percentage growth in rural tourism (+42.1%) and in campsites (+62.5%) in Barcelona region, which equalled, and even exceeded, the values of 2019 (-0.77% and +18.7%, respectively).
At Barcelona Airport, almost 2 million passengers arrived in February, which meant an increase of practically 300,000 passengers (MoM) and -39.3% behind February 2019. The latter difference is much lower than the variation recorded in January (-48.0% YoY), which indicates that the recovery of passengers at the airport was accelerated in February, thanks to the increase in the air capacity.
In contrast, in Barcelona Port, cruise passengers were -75% below 2019 and fell during the last month (-27.0%), coinciding with the reduction of cruise ships during this season. As for ferry passengers, they remained practically stable, standing only -8.6% below the same period in 2019.
The cultural facilities in Barcelona city received almost +40% more visitors in February than in the previous month. Thus, current monthly visitor levels have reached almost 80% of prepandemic levels.
Domestic tourism maintained the first position in the ranking of tourists in hotel establishments in Destination Barcelona (38.4%). However, international tourism (61.8%) regained market share (+5.2pp), because of the high prevalence of foreign tourists in Barcelona city (70.5%), where their proportion was also increased (+6.0% MoM). By country of residence, French tourists continued being predominant in Barcelona city (12.9% of share), followed by the Italians (5.8%), and the British (5.4%). The Americans and the Germans, with shares of around 4.5%, followed them.
At Barcelona Airport, the proportion of passengers on domestic flights (33.1%) was also reduced in favour of passengers on international flights (66.9%). 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 February, purchases with bank cards in the city shops also show how the expense in tourism activity grew over +130% compared to the same period last year, while culture and leisure expense grew by over than +80%. The use of international cards maintained an upward trend: while by the end of January, 1 out of every 10 card transactions in the city was made with international cards, by the end of February they were doubled. On the other hand, the expense during the stay per person and day in the whole of the Destination stood at 64.7€ (+8.5% MoM).
Finally, the tourism activity job market kept improving in February: registered unemployment continued falling, and for the sixth consecutive month, it was lower than pre-pandemic levels (-17.3% compared to 2019). The new hiring increased again mainly thanks to the growth of indefinite contracts (+64.8% MoM).
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.