Thursday, January 14, 2021

COVID-19 takes a huge toll on tourism in Tenerife: Less than 36% of beds and only 83 hotels in operation + very low occupation

Tenerife, Playa de las Américas Aerial View Wouter Hagens, CC BY-SA 4.0

Hoteliers' association Ashotel has reported this Thursday that only 35.9% of tourist beds are operational on the island, a total of 32,579, and with very low occupations, in many cases below 20%, so many establishments are not sure of staying open in the coming weeks.

By zones, the metropolitan area (Santa Cruz, La Laguna) is the most active, with 67.9% of open beds (2,011), followed by the south, with 35.7% (26,768) and the north, where 30.1% is reached (3,800), so that the island has almost 58,000 beds off the market. In addition, there are only 83 open tourist complexes on the island, 40.2% of the total.

The improvement in the metropolitan area is due to the fact that its business model is not vacation tourism, the one most affected by the great restrictions on the travel market of the main issuing markets, with a high incidence of the COVID pandemic. On the contrary, it mainly provides services to business professionals, companies, port activities and sports delegations, among others, who maintain, although notably reduced, their activity.

Both in the north and the south of Tenerife, the accommodation industry is highly dependent on European tourism, mainly British and German, whose countries currently apply significant restrictions on mobility. Along with these, other winter season markets such as Scandinavia have also applied restrictions on the mobility of their nationals to the Canary Islands due to accumulated incidence data. In addition, the instability of the market caused by this health crisis has led 34 establishments to close again in recent months in Tenerife, after reopening when the first state of alarm waned at the end of June.

During the summer, some establishments were encouraged to open their facilities and began to receive customers, however, the market situation did not improve as expected due to the poor evolution of the pandemic and as of September they began to close again.

With the start of the high tourist season in the islands, at the beginning of November, many companies decided to open, after more than six months closed.


The decree issued by the Government of the Canary Islands at the end of October that regulated the arrival of tourists with negative diagnostic tests for COVID-19 opened a more hopeful scenario. However, the increased restrictions in Germany and the United Kingdom that occurred almost daily as early as December forced the closure of some hotels within just a month. There was even a case of a hotel establishment in the south of Tenerife that was only open for a week. Tourist establishments that have opted to stay open, even with very low occupancies, are currently making enormous efforts to stay open.


"The winter season, usually the strongest in the Canary Islands, has practically been given up for lost, despite the fact that we had put a lot of hope in it." "Now we are mainly looking at the next winter, although from summer we can start the recovery process", explains the president of Ashotel, Jorge Marichal, who trusts that the vaccination process throughout Europe will be completed as soon as possible and that this herd immunity can be counted on to provide security to residents and tourists.

For those who consider that a recovery is possible before Easter or around those dates, it must be borne in mind that the cold is an ally for the spread of the virus and that the opening of a hotel - with what this implies - cannot be done given the fluctuations of the evolution of contagion. Thus, he emphasizes that "it is necessary to start the recovery as soon as possible but to be stable and growing, not in the form of a roller coaster".