Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spanish Tourism industry showing signs of recovery

Tourism in Spain grew by 1.1% in January

According to a survey carried out by Frontur for the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce on the movement of foreign tourists 2.54 million tourists visited Spain in January this year which is an increase of 1.1% compared to the same period last year.

This small increase comes after eighteen consecutive months of negative figures and breaks the tendency for decreasing numbers of tourists visiting Spain. In fact, by the end of 2009 foreign tourism was down by 8.7%.

The highest number of foreign tourists visiting Spain are still from the United Kingdom despite the fall of 8.1% in the number of British tourists coming to Spain last year (528,306 tourists), the second largest group of foreign tourists were German although 6.3% fewer German tourists visited Spain last year (417,000 tourists).

The third largest group of foreign tourists to visit Spain was from France and in contrast to the negative figures for British and German tourists this group grew by 5.5% (336,000 tourists). Italian tourists occupy the fifth place with an increase of 19.1% (169.241 tourists).

As far as other countries are concerned the negative tendency continued except for tourists coming from Switzerland and Belgium whose numbers were up by 16.5% and 5.9% respectively. However the number of tourists visiting Spain from Portugal, Ireland, the Low Countries and Nordic Countries fell by 21.7%, 25.6%, 18.1% and 1.1% respectively.

In January this year 795,815 tourists visited the Canary Islands which accounts for 31.3% of the total and is 1.6% more than for the same period last year. These figures break the negative tendency in the number of foreign tourists visiting the Canary Islands which had been continuing since the end of 2008.

There were also positive figures for foreign tourists visiting Catalonia with an increase of 0.9% (571,143 tourists), Andalucia +9.9% (345,612 tourists) and the Madrid region +7.1% (282,719 tourists).

In contrast the Valencian region received 3% fewer visits from foreign tourists (213,842 tourists) while foreign tourism to the Balearic Islands was down by 32.7% in January accounting for 4% of all foreign tourists visiting Spain. According to the Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Commerce these negative figures were influenced by the fact that it was the low season and adverse climatological conditions.

Approximately two million foreign tourists who visited Spain in January this year travelled by plane which is 81.5% of the total number. This represents an increase of 2% and is the first increase since July 2008. Around 372,672 tourists visited Spain travelling by road which is a decrease of 4.7% compared to the same period last year.

The number of foreign tourists coming to Spain independently in January accounted for 67.7% of the total (1.72 million tourists) while the number of foreign tourists coming to Spain on package holidays was down by 1.3% compared to the same period last year.

The number of foreign tourists staying in hotels was down by 1.9% in January this year although 61.2% of the total number still opted for this type of accommodation. Foreign tourists staying in other types of accommodation such as their own properties was up by 7.3% compared to the same period last year.

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