The expected return to normality seems to be a reality this summer. Easter has been seen as a prelude to what can happen in a few months, when the tourist season begins, although, yes, “if the pandemic does not take more turns,” points out Magdaleno Pareja, representative of the local sector in the Associació d Tarragona Hospitality Companies (AEHT).
At the moment, the clearest signs that suggest that tourism is recovering strongly is the high activity at Reus Airport -with a volume of seats offered of 90% compared to 2019-, a high hotel occupancy during Holy Week and a return to normalcy for taxi drivers. This is also how it is perceived by the Tourist Board of the Diputació de Tarragona. Sources consulted indicate that the indicators are quite positive and confirm that we are facing an exercise that will allow international tourism to recover to levels similar to the period prior to the pandemic.
“Since the operation began at the Airport, all taxi drivers have been working 100%,” details the president of the Reus Taxi Association, David Martínez. Something that is “very good news”, given that in the last two summer seasons (2020 and 2021) only 50% of taxi drivers had had to keep working daily. A formula that they usually carry out only during the winter, due to the lower volume of work, but that these years, and as a result of the Covid and the low activity of the aerodrome, they had had to maintain throughout the year. All this had a very important effect on their activity, and it should be remembered that most of the annual turnover of Reus taxi drivers comes from the Airport.
Now, the start of the season seems to indicate that the summer would be similar to the years before the pandemic. “In fact, it has been an atypical start, with quite full planes. The truth is that we did not expect so many people, and although now the situation has slowed down, it should be noted that tourism is coming with a vengeance and that it could be a summer like 2019”, exclaims Martínez. To all this, the reopening, for a few months, of nightlife is also added. A type of client, along with the restaurant, with which the Reus taxi drivers are also working a lot these days.
The hotel sector is expressed in the same line. During Holy Week, the busiest days were from Holy Thursday, as explained by José Miguel, manager of Brea’s Hotel. Instead, the previous days were weak “and it is being weak this week,” he explains. A trend that Magdaleno Pareja, also director of the Hotel Reus Park, says is common. «On Holy Thursday we had an occupancy of 45%, and Friday and Saturday everything was full. Sunday many people left already », he says.
As detailed by the Tourist Board of the Diputació, an average occupancy of 85% of the hotel beds on the Costa Daurada has been reached this Easter. The good weather in the central days of this holiday period has had a positive impact on stays at campsites, while occupancy in apartments has been especially important from Friday to Sunday.
Magdaleno Pareja also particularly highlights all the sporting events that took place during that period in the Tarragona region, which has helped to fill up the tourist establishments. «In Reus we have worked a lot, for example, with the Mundialito de Cambrils, a dance championship in Salou or we have even had rooms occupied by a team that participated in a ping pong championship in Valls. In addition to families who went to PortAventura”, says the representative of the sector in Reus of the Associació d’Empresaris d’Hostaleria de Tarragona.
Now, after Easter, another good time to assess the season could be May 1, “but this year it falls on a Sunday and we miss the bridge,” laments Couple. Even so, he has a positive outlook for the coming months, before summer. And it is that he highlights several events that “will help us”, as is the case of Trapezi, from May 11 to 13, among others. On the other hand, the sector also works with business clients, as José Miguel explains.
Airport at full capacity
The activity that has been taking place since the end of March at Reus Airport is one more example of the recovery of tourism and the confidence to travel, once again. During Easter, for example, 155 flights have been operated, two more than in 2019.
The president of the Tourist Board of the Tarragona Provincial Council, Meritxell Roigé, affirms that “the work carried out to promote operations at Reus airport this year is bearing fruit”. In fact, the infrastructure already offers a volume of seats that reaches 90% of those offered in 2019. In total, the Airport offers 33 routes this season by Ryanair, Jet2, TUI and Air Nostrum, the latter case with a link to Mallorca.
“With this infrastructure at full capacity, we are in the best conditions to make the recovery of markets such as the British and Irish possible,” Roigé underlines.