Following a record 82 million tourists arriving in Spain last year, tourism figures for the first half of 2018 are looking rather disappointing.
Between January and June, the number of tourists visiting Spain fell by 2.2% – a drop of nearly one million – compared with the same period the year before, according to figures published by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).
Visitor numbers from the top three performing markets in terms of tourism – UK, Germany and France – accounted for over half of the 82 million visits last year. However, British tourist number fell by 5.6% in July, while the number of tourists coming from Germany and France fell by 6.2% and 11.4%, respectively. Based on these figures, third quarter (Q3) visitor numbers and revenues are unlikely to be as high as 2017; the number of UK tourists visiting Spain in Q3 is expected to drop by 4.2%, according to a report by Turespana, Spain’s official tourist board. However, British tourists are expected to spend 5.3% more this summer and account for 1.9% more of overnight stays in 2018, the report says.
There may be a number of reasons for lower than expected tourists numbers this year; some parts of Spain have introduced new legislations to curb excessive tourism including restrictions on the construction of new hotels in cities and the enforcement of strict criteria for tourist accommodation rentals. UK visitor numbers may be lower due to the heat wave which engulfed the country for much of the summer, resulting in a rise in ‘staycations’ – where people holiday in their home country instead of heading abroad. Industry experts also express that the recovery of alterative destinations such as Tunisia and Turkey may also be contributing to falling visitor numbers in Spain.
Reyes Maroto, Spain’s tourism Minister, has played down the year-on-year drop in July tourism figures and is focusing more on the long term result of reducing overcrowding in the country.
She said: “We are going to get behind a strategy based on quality, [we’re] aware that there is going to be a slowdown in tourism flows. It is already happening,” reports Spanish newspaper El Pais.
The minister was also quick to point out that tourism figures for the last seven months reached 47.1million, a 0.3% rise compared with the same period last year and tourist spending has so far risen 3%.Tags: Tourism Spain, Visitor Numbers in Spain