International Tourist Arrivals & Spending in Tourism-Dependent Spain Collapsed to “Zero” in April. May Likely Similar

It’s not often that “zero” is used in official statistics that are normally counted in millions of people and billions of euros.

By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET:

In April, for the first time since records began, no — meaning officially  “zero” — foreign tourists arrived in Spain, and foreign tourists spent “zero” in Spain, the world’s second most visited country in 2019, as its borders were essentially closed to foreign visitors for the duration of the month, according to new figures published by the country’s Institute of National Statistics (INE). Here are the first three (slightly truncated) paragraphs of the accompanying press release (translated by yours truly):

The State of Alarm brought into force on March 14 to manage the health care crisis caused by Covid-19 together with two later provisions… de facto suppressed the flow of international visitors to Spain for tourism reasons across all of the different access routes considered in the FRONTUR and EGATUR surveys, including roads, ports, airports and railway lines.

Some exceptions were made to the provisions, as was the case with citizens of Spanish nationality residing in other countries who were allowed to return to Spanish territory after the State of Alarm came into effect, as well as other travelers with justifiable cause who may in some cases be considered visitors. However, given the markedly reduced volume of these flows and the impossibility of accurately determining their underlying motive (it is hardly likely, given the circumstances, that the reason for their travel is tourism) we advise against accounting thereof…

As such, during the month of April, the number of international visitors to Spain for tourist reasons on all access routes was zero. By the same token, the total amount spent by international visitors to Spain during April… was also zero.

In other words, Spain’s National Statistics Office doesn’t see any point in even entertaining the idea that foreign visitors might have visited the country for tourism reasons in April, given that the borders were effectively sealed shut, most planes had been grounded, trains were not moving, checkpoints had been erected on all major roads, and all hotels, bars, restaurants, museums, galleries and gift shops were shut for the entirety of the month. Even visiting the beach was banned. So, too, was taking a walk with somebody else.

Only the most ardent, pigheaded clandestine tourist would want to visit the country in such circumstances. One can’t help imagining tiny pockets of guiris locos, suitcases in tow, searching for a chink in Spain’s fortress borders or disguising themselves as doctors, nurses or important scientists to get through security at the airport. But their number was so low, assuming they even existed, that Spain’s National Statistics Office, many of whose employees will have been working from home during the lockdown, decided it wasn’t worth counting them.

And this is what the official data of international tourist arrivals shows. During the seasonal peaks in July and August, around 10 million tourists arrive per month. The seasonal troughs are clustered around December and January with around 4 million arrivals per month. The prior Aprils in recent years were situated in the 7-million range. And in April 2020, they collapsed to zero:

For Spain’s vital tourism industry, which generates approximately €180 billion a year — close to 15% of GDP — April is normally a month of transition. It is when business begins picking up again after the relatively quiet months of winter, with around seven million people visiting the country in recent years in April. Last year, 7 million tourists spent €7 billion ($7.9 billion). This is money that was appreciated but all the same taken for granted by thousands of tourism-related business, large and small, every year until this year, when it completely vanished.

May is unlikely to be much better than April. And June little better than May. Although bars and restaurants in all Spanish cities can now reopen their terraces to punters and hotels can also reopen their doors, albeit under strict conditions, for the moment they can only serve the local market since travel between provinces for reasons apart from business remains prohibited until June 21, when the so-called “state of alarm” is scheduled to be lifted.

While international travelers can now visit the country, assuming they can find a plane to board, they must self-quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to go about their business. If that business is essentially sightseeing, drinking in bars, eating in restaurants, visiting museums, sunbathing and the like, it’s an exorbitant price to pay and one most tourists are unwilling to accept.

That will all change on July 1, when Spain reopens its borders and scraps the mandatory quarantine policy. While surely residents of other European countries or further afield will come, there are doubts as to whether many millions of them — nearly 10 million did in July last year — will want to come, those than can even afford to. After all, fear of Covid is still rife and Spain was home to one of the worst outbreaks on the planet.

Denmark’s government has already ruled Spain out as an optimal tourist destination this summer. Danish citizens will only be allowed to freely visit Norway, Iceland or Germany and will be subject to a 14-day quarantine on their return if they venture elsewhere.

In France, the Minister of Ecological Transition and Inclusion, Élisabeth Borne, has urged her compatriots to shun Spain and vacation locally this year.

In the UK, which accounted for almost one out of every five tourists that visited Spain in 2019, travelers returning from abroad will have to self quarantine for 14 days from June 8 onward, though opposition to the policy is growing.

Even when air routes begin reopening and so-called “air bridges” are established with “low-risk” countries, many people may think twice before boarding a plane. According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals are likely to plunge by 60% to 80% in 2020, depending on when restrictions are lifted. Some 100 million tourism jobs around the world are now at risk. Between $910 billion and $1.2 trillion of exports — tourism counts as an export — could be wiped out over the course of this year.

It is hoped that domestic demand will pick up some of the slack in Spain. And it probably will. But for countries like Spain that have grown massively dependent on foreign tourism, both for the jobs and revenues it provides, the fallout is likely to be brutal. By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET.

Auto sales in the UK had already dropped three years in a row, before Covid. But after the lockdown, they collapsed to near-zero, and now the automakers’ finance companies are clamoring for a bailout. Read…  Automakers’ Finance Divisions Lobby BoE & UK Gov for Bailout. Auto Sales Collapse 97%, Consumers Apply for Payment Holiday

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  80 comments for “International Tourist Arrivals & Spending in Tourism-Dependent Spain Collapsed to “Zero” in April. May Likely Similar

  1. 2banana
    Jun 2, 2020 at 11:41 am

    It seems like only yesterday that local politicians in Barcelona were complaining about having too many tourists and were determine to limit the amount of tourists coming to spend their money.

    Be careful what you wish for…

    “It is hoped that domestic demand will pick up some of the slack in Spain. And it probably will. But for countries like Spain that have grown massively dependent on foreign tourism, both for the jobs and revenues it provides, the fallout is likely to be brutal.”

    • Joe Saba
      Jun 2, 2020 at 6:11 pm

      I have friend who’s wife works in Barcelona
      her contract is ending soon and they can’t wait to come back to merica

    • char
      Jun 2, 2020 at 9:00 pm

      Barcelona was right. It was on its way to become a Venice. A city destroyed by tourism. 60 years ago Venice was an economic hub with a large population. Now it is only tourists

      Domestic demand is different from foreign demand. They ask for different things.

    • Gerrard White
      Jun 2, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      well it’s one thing to criticise the way tourism warps the local economy disrupts society once it exceeds certain numbers, and another to imagine or wish that a bug eliminate tourism & the rest of the economy & many lives, er..disrupt society…hey maybe you are on to something

  2. MonkeyBusiness
    Jun 2, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Same in Japan. Pretty much the same everywhere I think. Tourism will be last to recover and it might

    It’s not just Covid 19. It’s also a matter of income.

    • nick kelly
      Jun 2, 2020 at 1:01 pm

      Except that Japan is nowhere near as reliant on tourism. The official % of GDP is about half that of Spain’s 15% at about 7.5 % but over 80% of that is domestic, with the yen staying at home.

      But in a odd twist, my nephew (Canadian) is living in Japan and is currently negotiating the purchase of a hostel/ ski operation that has been mainly catering to Ozzies. So it sure affects his plans.

      • MonkeyBusiness
        Jun 2, 2020 at 4:29 pm

        True, but the Japanese government is thinking of paying people to visit.

        I might just take them up on the offer.

        • Dan Romig
          Jun 2, 2020 at 6:12 pm

          The Olympic flame was set to be lighted in Tokyo on 24 July 2020. Three hundred sixty-four days later, it will be lit.

        • ook
          Jun 2, 2020 at 9:59 pm

          That is not actually true. The proposal is to subsidize *domestic* travel inside Japan, and the foreign portion of that budget is just advertising that the country is open again.

      • MC01
        Jun 3, 2020 at 12:59 am

        Put it in perspective.
        Japan’s GDP is a whooping €5,400 billion. “Travel and tourism” account for 7.4% of that GDP or €399.6 billion.
        Spain’s GDP is about €1,700 billion. “Travel and tourism” account for 14.6% of that GDP or €248.2 billion.

        Japan has been promoting itself like crazy abroad over the past 5-6 years.
        As soon as this dog and pony show starts slowing down expect them to start promoting the country heavily once again, especially considering the Olympics cost them an authentic fortuneand need to recoup at least part of the costs.

        • nick kelly
          Jun 3, 2020 at 11:15 pm

          The piece is about ‘International Tourism’ and the effect on tourist dependent Spain.
          Around one percent (12% of Japan’s 7.4 tourism GDP) is international; international tourism is almost irrelevant to its economy compared to Spain’s. It is hard to think of an economy less dependent on international visits than Japan.

          Japan is an interesting place, but the crisis is in tourism- dependent Spain. It still has scars from its civil war, which could re-ignite over secessionist Catalonia. The crash in travel could push it over the edge.

      • char
        Jun 3, 2020 at 8:09 am

        Parts of Japan are very reliant on tourism. Okinawa is just the Spanish Costa’s except they speak Japanese. A Catalunia without industry.

    • joe2
      Jun 3, 2020 at 8:53 am

      “a matter of income”
      Correct. My travel budget is redirected to pay bills not covered by income not received while forced to close by our dimwit governor. Who appears to waive the COVID-19 emergency requirements for the convenience of rioters. A friend had her shop burned out.
      Currently thinking maybe driving Poland or Spain in 2021. Maybe. And I used to do 2-3 long trips a year. Flew back from the PI in December. Little did I know.

  3. Jdog
    Jun 2, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    The problem is actually much worse than these stats would suggest due to the trickle effect of the money circulating in the economy…

    • Joe Saba
      Jun 2, 2020 at 6:12 pm

      it’s making takers out of former taxpayers
      oops

  4. Michael Engel
    Jun 2, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    1) XLF, there was some kind of selling in the first half of May. 2) XLF kept moving up, on low volume, in the second half.
    3) May 29 low was a spring on Apr (H) @ 23.66 and May 27 low.
    4) Spring should send XLF higher > May 28(H), but it didn’t. Today, XLF is up on falling volume. If XLF breach May 29 and Apr 14 lows, XLF might be in some kind of troubles.
    5) Don’t commit to anything stupid, like traveling.

  5. Javert Chip
    Jun 2, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    GDP is GDP, which includes “trickle down”, unless you’re referring to the black (off the books) economy

  6. leanFIRE_Queen
    Jun 2, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Traveling used to be my biggest splurge because my family lives in Northern Italy and in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    My desire to travel aside from being with my family was pretty destroyed even before covid-19. I hate crowds.

    My goal for June: saving above my record of 75%. I’m making leanFIRE happening for me thanks to saying NO to housing and renting cheaply instead. I’ll be more than happy traveling within the US in my own RV or van. USA has been designed not for living, but for driving. I love our highways.

    Wondering how deflationary the leanFIRE trend has been.

    • motorcycle guy
      Jun 2, 2020 at 8:53 pm

      leanFIRE_Queen,

      I had to look up the term “leanFIRE” but it applies to me. I retired in 2015 at the age of 61 1/2. I bought a step up truck (Nissan NV2500 HD) and that is my home in the States. I also own a motorcycle (hence my “handle”). I’m enjoying life immensely.

      • leanFIRE_Queen
        Jun 3, 2020 at 11:54 am

        Love this!!! What motorcycle did you buy? I want exactly your set up!!!

        I’m just starting to downsize:
        * buying nothing retail for 1 year (aside from food and toiletries)
        * getting rid of one unnecessary item per day. I started not so long ago, so I’ve been getting rid of about 10 per day.
        * studying how much do I need per month. I much rather consume my time than material stuff.

        • Argus
          Jun 3, 2020 at 6:03 pm

          Since Covid put paid to my extramural hobbies, other than going for walks, I seldom need to dress smartly. We’re not attending concerts, church in person, dining out etc. I’ve realized that I have enough clothes to last me for years.
          The book exchange keeps the number of books in the house stable.
          We spend less on gas for the car.
          We buy food, garden supplies and pay for services like the internet. Apart from the occasional can of paint and bit of hardware, we need nothing.
          Needs and wants have indeed been clarified by semi-isolation.

  7. MC01
    Jun 2, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Several Italian newspapers published last week the details of a “backroom deal” between Germany and The Netherlands on one side and Croatia and Greece on the other to “steer” tourists from the Central European countries to the latter while cutting off Italy and Spain.
    The scoop is considered believable enough that the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs will personally visit Berlin and Athens over the next two weeks to sort this mess out. The European Commission is also expected to issue a statement on the matter this week, plus on another “backroom” deal that will allow travelers between Britain and France to skip quarantines.

    At midnight Italy will drop all internal travel restrictions plus quarantine requirements for all travelers coming from Schengen Area countries and Great Britain: yes, we are big Covidiots around here. Spain has already stated they will “probably” return the favor for ships and aircraft coming from Italy starting on June 15 and France ought to do the same: after all yesterday our local newspapers had an open letter from the French consul in Milan saying how “France is waiting for her Italian friends and will welcome them with open arms”. If I am shot when I cross the border I’ll hold him personally responsible.

    Now the tough nuts to crack are Austria, Germany and Switzerland: this has nothing to do with epidemics or other lofty ideals and a lot to do with cold hard bezants.
    “Tourism and Travel” was worth 8.6% of Germany’s GDP pre-crisis, which may not sound like much until one remembers the pre-crisis German GDP was a massive €4,040 billion, meaning tourism was worth a massive €347 billion, more than the same period Qatari GDP. I think this is self-explanatory.
    Problem is of course Austria and Switzerland (where tourism was 15.4% and 8.4% of pre-crisis GDP’s respectively) depend on foreign tourists, including French, Italian and Spanish ones. Worse still all three countries have deep business relationships with France and Italy: businessmen, factory technicians, salesmen etc won’t move until quarantines are lifted. I surely know I won’t. We did our part: now all we ask for is for the rest of Europe to reciprocate.

    Allow me to get this off my chest now: “blame the foreigner” is all the rage around the world right now and it’s so much fun to play.
    Look at Greece: their politicians have taken the occasion to drag out the old hatred for Italians out of the closet for purely political reasons. Let’s see how long they can hold out without Italian tourists in Alonissos and Santorini. After all tourism is just 20.6% of the greek GDP…

    • Prof. Emeritus
      Jun 2, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Such intra-national tourism deals were not unheard of even the pre-COVID world, Balkan countries often subsidized cheap flights to boost tourism (since their roads are not really connected to the European highway-network there is no other form of welcoming tourists). It will be interesting to see whether wealthy tourists will choose:
      A) Their regular Italian/Spanish holiday destination via automobile
      B) A much cheaper one to Croatia/Greece that includes a risky flight or long, cramped bus ride
      C) No vacation at all (even though I’m probably not the main target audience, this is what I vouch for)

      • char
        Jun 2, 2020 at 9:11 pm

        Wealthy tourist? Italian and Spain are for the average man.

        C) It has been record breaking sunny in Western Europe. And a lot of people where semi-free. I don’t think that a lot of people need their yearly holiday in the sun this year. It is that a lot of people have booked their summer holiday in January otherwise they would not have booked one now.

      • MC01
        Jun 3, 2020 at 1:11 am

        Bavarians usually get here by car, albeit the queues on the Brenner highway have become beyond crazy over the past decade and no government involved want to spend a penny to improve it.
        They would probably be back already if not for uncertainty, especially:
        1) Austria is trying everything in her power to keep German tourists their side of the border and make travel to Italy difficult. Their GDP is even more dependant on tourism than Spain’s.
        2) The ever-looming threat of quarantines. Germany should make a decision on quarantines over the next 10 days or so but Austria (very much like Switzerland) is desperately trying to keep the borders with Italy sealed shut.

        The quickest way to get to Greece by car is, ironically enough, to drive to Ancona in Italy and board a ferry there. Same problems as above. Driving through Bosnia and the like is not really an option even in ordinary times.
        There will be plenty of flights available shortly so why bother?

        • char
          Jun 3, 2020 at 8:05 am

          With half the chairs empty because of distancing. I doubt flying will be easy

    • nick kelly
      Jun 2, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      I wonder if the number fur Deutschland includes domestic. As I noted above the seeming half of Japanese tourism GDP at 7.5 is over 80% domestic, whereas no doubt the majority of Spain’s is foreign. Japan’s share of GDP due to foreign tourists looks like less than 1 percent.
      Of course, depending on severity of the lock down, domestic tourism also suffers. But the currency not spent on holidays is still in that domestic economy.

    • Tim
      Jun 2, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      MC01.

      Thank you, brilliantly put.

      But could I balance ‘bezants’ with ‘exigencies’. Political exigencies.

      I watched ERM and the fallout as a very young guy. I could afford to do so because I was at school. But I still watched it very coldly. I was lucky enough in the 2000’s to have a circle of friends that included guys and girls who were in finance in the 1970’s and others that still just remembered the 1940’s after being demobbed.

      Of course there were those who felt of that circle in the 2000’s -quite strongly – that the Berlin Wall should never come down. There were other who felt that the West Germans would never just give the East Germans their quality of life. Debate amongst yourselves who won and who lost afterwards through the 1990’s.

      But when it came to the creation of the Euro, I could not forget the mess of ERM, I could not forget the fractured nature of european national history. I could not get beyond the inky feeling that the European Union project was no more than a better organised, much more well-intentioned, replica of the Congress of Vienna.

      Both are, quite evidently different schema. They do, however, have two imprtant themes in common. The first is that they rode rough shod over smaller interests that fought back later. The second is that both are based on a generation whose view of each project, their gstalt, is now past.

      So we see what we see in the article above.

      • Tim
        Jun 2, 2020 at 4:18 pm

        Just to clarify. I never have taken myself the position the The Berlin Wall should not have come down.

        • nick kelly
          Jun 2, 2020 at 5:01 pm

          Take it easy. Next you’ll be saying that it should have come down.

        • Tim
          Jun 2, 2020 at 5:19 pm

          Nick Kelly.

          Well thank you for that…. I’ll go lie down soon.

          But, to be fair, there were many sound reasons why it needed to do so.

    • stan6565
      Jun 2, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      I think that Croatia and Greece are cheaper, much cheaper than Italy or Spain. Convinced, even.

      Would that have to do anything with anything?

    • Willy Winky
      Jun 2, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      If you factor in all the businesses that rely on tourism but are not counted as tourism in GDP… the numbers are MUCH higher than 15.4 and 8.4….

      • Thomas Roberts
        Jun 2, 2020 at 5:49 pm

        A big concern is companies, who don’t directly deal with tourists, but, the loss of tourists, would cause enough loss of business to put them out of business or shrink their size. Which, in turn might put some others out of business or shrink their size.

        For example, a company who deals with wood, might have a large buyer, who makes souvenirs for tourists. The loss of tourists puts the souvenir maker out of business, which means the wood processor losses a lot of business. And, the wood processor might go out of business or shrink. Which, causes the loggers who supply the wood processor to lose some jobs. But, it might also cause, some of the furniture makers to have less suppliers, which might hurt them.

        A more direct example might be the companies, that the hotels need to build and run their hotels. Many of these, might not be counted. These companies might not exclusively deal with tourist places, but, that loss of income could really hurt them, potentially enough to put them out of business. This includes the companies who, deal with the bedding, furniture, carpeting, food, Air conditioning systems and much more.

        These ripple effects sort themselves out in a well functioning economy, but, alot of countries don’t seem to understand how economies are supposed to work. Instead, they ask for bailouts. Having subsidized businesses, in the middle of a supply chain, can f**k up the entire economy, if done poorly.

        • Willy Winky
          Jun 2, 2020 at 6:15 pm

          David Korowicz wrote an excellent paper on how if a key pillar of an economy is removed (e.g. tourism)… the entire economy is likely to unravel.

          The auto industry would also be considered a key pillar and we have pulled that as well. Consider all the industries that are reliant on auto sales (plastic, metal, electronics…)

          The paper is called Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion

    • char
      Jun 2, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      Vacation villa’s are the place to put people who flee badly run countries and their ongoing Covid epidemic. If i was Greece i would go after English business and forget about tourism.

    • Cullpax
      Jun 3, 2020 at 7:10 am

      I am not aware of any “old hatred for Italians” here in Greece. Greek government has managed to keep low numbers during 1st outbreak of the pandemic and looks to capitalize on that feat (maybe too much). But it’s a far cry and frankly irrelevant to say they blame anything on the Italians.

      • VintageVNvet
        Jun 3, 2020 at 12:54 pm

        ”Old” hatreds of all kinds can, may, and might go back at least a couple of thousand years in some cases/places cpax, so do not despair that this one may not have been totally and absolutely forgiven yet and by all parties, some of whom do not even likely continue into 21st Century AD or CE, or whatever we the peedons are supposed to call it these days.
        Just to make my POV clear: IMHO after studying SO much about this particular subject, THE only way to happiness is to—
        — FORGIVE YOUR SELF!!!
        NOT so easy as it sounds, because in my experience, First, ya really and truly have to forgive everyone else,,, and then and only then can ya progress to the final stage of forgiving your own self..
        And, possibly equally challenging, ya gotta do it every day, or almost…
        Good Luck, and may the Great Spirits bless your every effort!

      • MC01
        Jun 3, 2020 at 1:05 pm

        May be you are not in my same age group, but back in my youth there was a lot of acrimony harkening back to WWII, when Italy got to occupy most of Greece in 1941-3. And apparently some families from the Dodecanese still hold a grudge to this day against Italy for the program of “Italianization” instituted in the 1920’s, when the islands were still occupied by Italy following the Italo-Turkish War.

        Of course we know this is all humbug, but politicians love this kind of stuff: I am actually surprised Greece hasn’t threatened to demand war reparations from Bulgaria and us like they routinely do with Germany. ;-)

  8. doug
    Jun 2, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    “blame the foreigner” is all the rage around the world right now

    Deflecting blame is major past time lately.

    • Thomas Roberts
      Jun 2, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      That’s partly true, but, non highly educated foreigners coming into a country does quite often lower the average persons wages or prevent them from growing with inflation. Right now, in every country in Europe and the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and more; the more none phd having foreigners allowed in, who are not from fellow rich countries like each other or japan will result in a lower standard of living for the majority.

      The rich like it, because, total gdp still rises and the rich, can still get richer. The government follows them.

      This isn’t new, it’s been a thing for at least a couple thousand years.

      There was a time when some countries like America were underpopulated, but, almost no country in the world is today.

      • char
        Jun 3, 2020 at 8:40 am

        It is the highly educated foreigners that lower wages. “Dumb muscle” is only a problem at the bottom.

  9. Wisdom Seeker
    Jun 2, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Hmm, by definition these economies are no longer “dependent on tourism”. We should describe them as depressed economies formerly dependent on tourism. The framing matters – the forward path in many areas should NOT be to return to “dependence on tourism”.

    Also, the overall hit to GDP might be smaller than advertised, at least for some nations. Tourists which can’t go to foreign destinations could still be tourists within their allowed domestic grazing ranges, or spend their “tourism budget” in other ways, so overall hit to GDP might be smaller.

    That might offset some of the adverse impacts pointed out by Monkey (more unemployment means less spending) and JDog (less tourist $$ means less local income and thus less local re-spending).

    • Willy Winky
      Jun 2, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      Here in New Zealand the country is ‘no longer dependent on international tourism’ (because there is none)….

      Rather it is now dependent on being able to borrow billions upon billions of dollars every month to pay wage subsidies and support everything from the arts to airlines…

      It is also dependent on offering mortgage holidays and interest only loans on commercial and residential properties.

      Jacinda Ardern has performed a miracle in just over two months time transitioning the NZ economy to a perpetual economic motion machine.

      People do not have to work yet they get enough money to still be able to enjoy their leisure time (I know loads of people who are buying ski memberships with the free money Jacinda is giving them – many of them prefer not to return to work if there was any work).

      There is even talk of a 4 day work week. Why not just go for a 3 day week?

      And eventually phase out work except for those involved in essential services (grocery store clerks… ski lift operators… petrol station staff etc…)

      Utopia has arrived. NZ is the model. MMT rocks! As does Santa Claus.

      And the people of NZ recognize genius when they see it — Madame Ardern has a 91% approval rating.

      That is a clear mandate for her to offer even more free stuff.

      • nick kelly
        Jun 3, 2020 at 12:49 am

        The funniest thing about MMT is the first M. Like printing money hasn’t been tried before. Ancient Roman Emporers were the first to take on the Gold standard. They just alloyed the gold with cheaper metals. But at least you got some metal, not like John Law’s regime that outlawed gold and silver in 17 hundreds France.

        Ben Franklin had to think about such matters in a very first-hand way.
        For a time he was both Master of the Mint and Minister of Finance ( Chair of the Fed?) to the original colonies after split from Britain.
        He would think about how much money should be printed and then go into the next room and print it. (he was a printer by trade)

        At one point he writes that he had printed too much and an unhealthy excitement and inflation was happening ( it’s been a long time since I read this so words are approx)

        A very old idea in new clothing.

  10. Tim
    Jun 2, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you Nick.

    Simply put, most families in good times budget for a 2 week vacation. If all you can do is get on an easyjet flight to somewhere to quarantine for 2weeks, then get flight back with only 2 further weeks of quarantine to look forward to- what’s the point?

    The 1 in 5 from the UK will now be planning to go elsewhere (Cornwall) because they will want not want to risk deposits and speculative flight costs on the situation being different in July and August.

    Apart from the British equivalents of Dr Cleuso and Cato looking for the pink panther if a vacation, no one else is coming.

    Funny image, maybe, but not if starving regions get bitter and swing to nationalism. As has happened before.

    • stan6565
      Jun 2, 2020 at 3:37 pm

      Our holiday let business in Norfolk (UK) is taking bookings through September October and November which was not the case in previous years. The thinking brains seem to have decided that the convenience of self contained and safe transport (car), to a clean and civilised place within an hour or two to nearest A&E, beats any kind of air-sharing endeavour, whatever the perceived exotic attraction.

      When someone makes the c19 vaccine, things may go back to the mass-cattle-transportation holidays to the usual homogenised destinations, but until then, low profile and safety will win over any other consideration.

      • Tim
        Jun 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm

        …. and there we go. Precisely.

      • Willy Winky
        Jun 2, 2020 at 6:38 pm

        How many bookings and at what price?

        We have a cottage on our property that normally rents for $250 per night (80%+ occupancy during the good times) We have pulled it off Airbnb and use it as a gym.

        Why? Because there is a property nearby with 12 cottages, a restaurant and a wine tasting bar.

        The cottages normally go for $300+ per night.

        The manager was so excited when 6 of us dropped in for dinner (the restaurant was empty) because she had two bookings!!! (for the long weekend that just passed)

        To attract these two bookings they are currently priced at under $200 and offer free breakfast for two, a free wine tasting for two and a free pizza.

        Two bookings… wow!

        The manager seems to have been brought down to earth as their newsletter went out soon after with a 241 offer on pizzas and a free bottle of wine with any order of 4 mains.

        We are not about to try to compete with them on price and I cannot be bothered to haul all my gear back to the garage for a couple of bookings per month.

        So we will not be putting the cottage back onto Airbnb anytime soon.

        • stan6565
          Jun 3, 2020 at 3:40 am

          Half of months of September October and November are already booked. Christmas week was booked months ago. We average £250 to £300 per night. There are cottages around us up to 30-40% cheaper but we do not target the same market. Ours is architecturally unique and set in big grounds in a small, safe for kids, quaint village, and we set our prices to reflect that.

          We don’t chase the bottom of the barrel customers and prices. In winter months we have a set lowest rate which is 50% higher than some surrounding cottages. With all the heating oil and wood costs, I just can’t be bothered renting out for peanuts.

      • motorcycle guy
        Jun 2, 2020 at 9:19 pm

        Stan6565,

        “When someone makes the c19 vaccine, things may go back to the mass-cattle-transportation holidays”

        I’m due to fly from Manila to Philadelphia next Tuesday. I just got a prescription hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and I bought two bottles of zinc sulfate. I’ll be taking this before my flight(s) and for two weeks after.
        We will see how it works.

        • stan6565
          Jun 3, 2020 at 2:43 am

          Good luck :)

      • Xabier
        Jun 3, 2020 at 4:12 am

        Taking a holiday in Norfolk, or anywhere in the UK, in November almost counts as a perversion – the weather can be so dire and the days so short! But glad for you, of course!

        • Tim
          Jun 3, 2020 at 5:30 am

          Xabier

          What good is any endeavour if it isn’t, in some way, character building….

        • char
          Jun 3, 2020 at 5:14 pm

          You forget nature. All that drab brown former leaf stuff.

  11. Joe
    Jun 2, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Wolf,
    Right now, their is so many different bi-laws, emergency decrees and lockdown areas, that I have no clue if I stand on my porch if it is illegal.
    Going for groceries is getting to be challenge when each area has their own fines should you break any of these.

    • Jun 2, 2020 at 3:38 pm

      Joe,

      Where are you located? Here in San Francisco, things are being opened up. Retail has opened up for curbside pickup. Offices where teleworking isn’t possible can open, etc. The thing we now have is a curfew. So you can’t do anything at night anyway.

      • Joe
        Jun 2, 2020 at 4:54 pm

        I live in the Muskokas in Ontario, Canada. Being between two towns, some mayors are being police with fines if you go to certain areas others are supposedly closed and will fine you $5,000. Social distancing fine $1,000. Fine if you break quarantine of 14 days. Some stores, you must wear mask and others not. Some will not take cash…
        Hard to keep track of who has what rules.

      • Phil
        Jun 2, 2020 at 6:38 pm

        In Minneapolis national guard will fire rubber bullets at you on your own porch.

        • Dan Romig
          Jun 2, 2020 at 8:39 pm

          My neighbor & family are back home this evening.

          As I stood watch over his home and mine the last three evenings, my bullets were not rubber.

          City Council members were offered National Guard protection beginning Sunday evening. My neighbor declined as he was already protected by his neighbors!

  12. Willy Winky
    Jun 2, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    If this is any indication, then get ready for no international tourism anywhere for a long time…

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-hongkong-measures/hong-kong-to-extend-restrictions-on-foreign-visitors-by-three-months-idUSKBN23915D

    So long as there is Covid active… expect that countries will keep flights out otherwise the lockdowns were a total waste of time.

    Governments that forced extreme lockdowns that wrecked economies will look pretty darn bad if they allow flights in and Covid makes a comeback.. so they kinda have no choice.

    Johan Giesecke of the WHO emailed me in April:

    ‘Ah, NZ! They are fascinating. I am sure they will manage to stamp out the virus. And then they will have to have a 2-week quarantine for anyone who enters the country for the next 30 years or so. Will do wonders to tourism.’

    Keep in mind while tourism is a significant chunk of GDP for many countries… the impact of killing it reaches far beyond tourism:

    – tradesmen are impacted as short term accommodation and hotels are sit idle — and new projects cancelled or delayed

    – building supply companies lose sales as do furniture, appliance and other companies that supply new projects (or replace worn or broken home furnishings)

    – F&B gets crushed. Their suppliers get crushed….

    – utilities are impacted

    – landscapers would be impacted

    – tax revenues are smashed (meaning govts have to cut budgets)

    The list goes on and on and on.

    Meanwhile in Hong Kong everyone – and I mean everyone – has been wearing a face covering almost from the beginning of Covid.

    HK has 4 (FOUR) deaths. And just over 1000 infections. With a population roughly the size of NYC.

    The CDC site specifically recommends face coverings to prevent the spread of Covid.

    Up until recently governments have not recommend face masks. Here in NZ just two weeks ago the PM said ‘face coverings may do more harm than good’

    I am thinking that if governments the world over had recommended face coverings and following the HK lead…. then international travel would have been normalized weeks ago.

    • Tim
      Jun 2, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      Nah, fear in various forms will mean international travel won’t return to 2019 levels before 2025, as far as I can see it. Household fear about their finances, wider tribalistic fear that will follow that as night follows day, international investor and business trepidation…

      This may simply be, to the general Joe and Jane, the first sign that goodwill globalism (sic) isn’t to be taken for granted…

      Perhaps there will be other signs to come. I really do hope not.

      But, ultimately, it’s difficult to see how western societies are on anything other to a swing (culture dependent) to either the authoritarian right or left. Whether that be NZ, UK or the USA. The above will feed into the current difficulties and, I suspect, magnify them to that end.

      I don’t count democracies like Greece in that because their black market economies are mature enough to continue as they are, more or less, as far as i am aware.

      • MC01
        Jun 4, 2020 at 2:50 am

        The chief problem for air travel right now is political even more than economical.
        I just got a very interesting article in my inbox which will end up in my upcoming piece for Wolf Street. Stay tuned. ;-)

  13. raxadian
    Jun 2, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    These are the worst of times, these are the craziest of times.

    Buy hey; if in every crisis there is an opportunity to be found, then with so many going on at the same time you have an opportunity bonanza!

    • Tim
      Jun 2, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      Which will be fantastic, for a while…..

      But how long that is may depend upon unpleasant things. Things such as the timeframe for arrival of whichever ‘Union’ or private syndicate steps in to fill the void of your local community’s needs….

      With their, how should it be put, expectations….

    • Willy Winky
      Jun 2, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      For many people this is the best of times (getting paid to do nothing) but also the worst of times (fear that wage subsidies will be terminated)

  14. Ryan
    Jun 2, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    I saw those same tourism numbers for Spain. The Spain stock market has been up for the last few days but with tourism accounting for 14% of Spain’s GDP is a tall order.

    Spain is an important Eurozone economy because it is one of the big four (along with Germany, France and Italy) who have GDP over $1 trillion dollars.

  15. char
    Jun 2, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Denmark & France are an issue for Spain but the fact that the UK can’t come because of British government rules is not really a problem. They are not really welcome until England gets Covid under control

  16. Wisoot
    Jun 2, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    I’m a little turtle who was able to hatch on a very quiet and dark beach, and made it safely to sea. I’m a little kestrel who was able to ride the high cloudless sky eddies with my family. I’m a little coot who was born on a nest of sticks not much higher than water level undisturbed by boats wash going up and down the Thames. I’m a little human who remembers these clear blue skies with white clouds and fresh air from childhood and now understands the grey continous clouds from last 15 years were pollution. I choose birds over drones. I choose peace over war. I choose to be a conscious steward of this planet and expect free clean energy patents held under national security false pretense be released to drive a new purpose of living in harmony with our surroundings. A 2 week holiday only became the norm because humans were being programmed to shit in their own nests. Make the nest beautiful, touring becomes defunct. Lets clean up our shit Gen X Y. Its your job now. Next stop. Big reveal. Weather control been in place for decades. Plant more trees. They and only they can keep us moist clouded cool under the increasing heat and radiation glare of satellites in orbit. Worthwhile Tourism is a stargate to another planet.

  17. Willy Winky
    Jun 3, 2020 at 12:24 am

    Again, tourism is NOT going to return anytime soon.

    Public health experts and officials have warned that the idea of “air bridge” links between the UK and overseas holiday destinations may prove impossible this summer, amid continued concern over how they could operate safely.

    “If you went on vacation to a country thought to be low risk, but while you’re there, there’s a massive outbreak, would you now be handled differently? You probably should be. If you could book a vacation two months in advance, and things change, what are the rules on insurance and refunds?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/02/uk-air-bridges-with-holiday-destinations-impossible-warn-public-health-experts

    People are just not going to book vacations even if countries open up because of a wide range of uncertainties.

    Imagine paying thousands of dollars for flights and hotels — then the situation changes in the country you plan to visit — and you get a credit instead of a refund.

    That’s already happening.

    Throw in the fact that people are afraid to get on an aircraft (or even leave their homes…) and you’ve got a total disaster.

  18. Anthony
    Jun 3, 2020 at 1:52 am

    I’m a Brit and yes I could drive to Spain from Manchester in northern England but the chunnel cost is about £150 return, the diesel probably £250, foreign breakdown cover £40ish, hotel bills for the three day drive(each way) maybe £100 each way, food bought on the journey, maybe £100 each way

    or I could once fly, taking five hours(each way) with airport wait times, costing maybe £100 return plus taxi to Manchester Airport of £30 return.

    At the moment I would probably drive or maybe not….

    • stan6565
      Jun 3, 2020 at 3:03 am

      Is your right foot heavy? If yes add several hundred euros for french coppers. Speeding brits their favourite game :)

      Seriously though, I am planning a similar trip, to Italy or Croatia. If I stretch the whole trip to about 3 weeks, it will be doable and not too tiring. On a down side, the German autozug which I used in the past to get me from Düsseldorf to kaprun overnight is now so expensive that I will have to forego that and drive through France instead.

      • Anthony
        Jun 3, 2020 at 4:15 am

        Oops, forgot French tolls, add about £40 or so each way….not sure about Spanish tolls, as I usually stop at the Pyrenees……then there is Dartford crossing around £2.50ew and the midland toll road of £5+EW (you don’t have to use it but it is a rest and gets you ready for London)

        Three days to Spain is about right as it’s about 860 miles from Manchester….with no speeding, of course, just 80 mph on the motorways. lol

        • Anthony
          Jun 3, 2020 at 4:16 am

          French motorways

        • char
          Jun 3, 2020 at 8:01 am

          A lot of Spanish toll roads are no longer toll roads since first of January. I know the toll road between Alicante and Benidorm is free now but i don´t know/care if the whole road until Barcelona is no free.

  19. CRV
    Jun 3, 2020 at 2:09 am

    I can’t help thinking that the opening of the borders is just for the tourist season to rake some money in and worry about the consequences later.
    Considering most people only travel for two weeks before returning home it would be just enough to have them back home before they get seriously ill. I’m seriously cynical about this ‘opening’. I will stay at home and will not be part of this experiment.

  20. Engin-ear
    Jun 3, 2020 at 3:37 am

    So, basically, we have an official confirmation that “border closing = no foreign tourists”.

  21. Covey
    Jun 3, 2020 at 3:55 am

    There are still a few tourists left down in Andalusia!! Those of us who have motorhomes and got caught up in the lockdown are still here!! Most of us reckoned that we were safer under the Spanish lockdown rather to drive back through France and take our chances at the borders and then join the half hearted UK lockdown.

    We do our best to keep putting a little money in to the local economy and tomorrow our favourite cafe/bar reopens and we will do our best to welcome them back in true style, in masks and 2m apart!!!!

    The Spanish owners of the campsite we are on near Malaga have looked after us outstandingly well, and we will return the favour by returning for the winter season.

    • Tim
      Jun 3, 2020 at 5:33 am

      Good to hear. Safe journeys!

  22. TruckMan
    Jun 4, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    I have a friend who lives in Northern Spain, near the border. He assures me the border is as transparent as glass to anyone in the know. They put checkpoints up because of the Catalonian independence thing last year, however they are usually only manned during daylight, often not at all at weekends, and the minor roads acroos the border are not checked at all.
    Doesn’t mean there are any tourists, but Spanish border controls are worthless.

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