Spain’s Tourism Industry Continues to Grow

Spain Tourism Industry Continues to Grow

Spain Tourism Industry Continues to Grow

Spain is on track for another bumper tourism year! Recently released data for the first eight months of 2014 showed a 7.3 per cent year-on-year rise in foreign visitors to 45.4 million, a record-breaking figure for the January-August period. And initial figures for September indicate that the summer boom is continuing.

France, the UK and Germany sent the most visitors to Spanish shores, with the subsequent positive knock-on effect on the country’s airports. This is all good news for Spain’s recovering economy, as the tourism industry is worth around 11 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

 

SPAIN PLANS TO BOOST AIR TRAFFIC

The number of passengers using the countries’ airports in August grew 6.2 per cent to nearly 23 million, of which around half were international travellersBarcelona’s El Prat airport saw the biggest increase of 8.6 per cent in passenger traffic to a record 4.2 million.

August was the tenth consecutive month of rises in airport traffic figures. Between January 2012 and October 2013, year-on-year traffic declined for all Spanish airports combined. In July, the government announced plans to freeze airport tariffs until 2025 in an effort to boost air traffic in the country hit by years of high charges and a bruising recession.

The tariff freeze should increase the competitiveness of airport operator Aena, almost half of which is due to be sold off later this year. Aena was one of the world’s largest airport operators in 2013, overseeing 187.4 million passengers, but this represented a 3.5 per cent drop from the previous year. New routes implanted by airlines Norwegian, Jet2.com and Spanish carrier Vueling have contributed to the uptick in passenger traffic over the last ten months, and this also augurs well for the future.

DOMESTIC TOURISM RECOVERY

Spain is the world’s third-biggest tourist destination behind France and the US. Its leading position in Europe in terms of the price to quality ratio of its hotels has helped the tourism sector to recover its competitiveness. Hotel prices are well below those registered before the economic crisis hit.

Spain notched up a 75.5 per cent hotel occupancy rate in July, up 3.0 per cent from a year earlier, and on course for the 78 per cent rate forecast by the government for August. But the increase in hotel occupancy is not just due to foreign tourists. It has also been boosted by a recovery in the domestic market. And the government is encouraging Spaniards to spend more holidays on their home turf with various marketing campaigns.

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