Tourism sector will experience “recovery” despite welcoming 29% fewer visitors than in 2019.
A total of 8 million passengers are expected to use Catalonia’s airports this summer, twice as many as in 2021 – but still 29% fewer than in 2019 before the pandemic.
“2022 will definitely be the year in which the tourism sector experiences recovery,” Albert Castellanos, a Catalan business and labor department official said on Monday during a debate organized by Catalonia’s Economists’ Association on regenerative tourism.
Tourism, Castellanos stressed, accounts for 12% of Catalonia’s GDP and employs 14% of its labor force, generating over €21bn in direct expenditure.
Catalonia – and especially Barcelona – is one of southern Europe’s top tourist destinations. And while it has become a pillar of the local economy, mass tourism raises other concerns: pollution from flights and cruises, precarious working conditions in the hospitality industry, crowding, and gentrification in trendy areas.
According to Castellanos, the solution to this is regenerative tourism – rather than sustainable tourism – as it improves the place that is visited instead of keeping it the same.