RYANAIR cabin crew members have announced a series of strikes in September across the country in response to the company's announcement it intended to - those of Gran Canaria, Tenerife South and Girona-Costa Brava....
Record tourism year forecast: Visitors spend €868 for every inhabitant in Spain
By thinkSPAIN Team Fri, Aug 2, 2019
ANOTHER record tourism year is forecast for 2019 based upon closing figures for the month of June, with visitor numbers having been steadily rising annually.
July statistics are not yet available and are unlikely to be published before the end of this month, but as both July and August are peak visitor times, it is probable that the numbers will be much higher than this year's current average of 6.37 million per month.
In the first half of 2019, a total of 38.2 million foreign holidaymakers visited Spain, an increase of 2.8% year on year, and their spending per head rose by 3.7%, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
The average holidaymaker from abroad spent €163 a day in June, which included accommodation, food, excursions, transport, souvenirs and general entertainment – a rise of 8.2% - or a typical total of €1,098 per head for the whole trip, an increase of 0.3% on the same month last year.
Spending tends to be higher when stays are shorter, meaning a constant turnover of tourists visiting for reduced breaks is better for the economy than fewer holidaymakers who stay for two or three weeks at a time.
This means that although the average holidaymaker who travelled to Spain in June spent less time in the country than in the same month last year – 6.7 days rather than 7.2, or cutting the trip by half a day – the amount of cash they parted with was higher.
In total, in the first half of 2019, visitors from abroad spent €40.4 billion – the equivalent of just over €868 for every year-round inhabitant in Spain – and €9.7bn in June alone.
Holidaymakers continue to grow in number annually despite Spain's largest national visitor group – the Brits – having reduced.
UK nationals totalled 2.1 million in June and 8.3 million in the first six months of this year – a reduction of 5.3% on the same month in 2018 and of 1.4% for the first half of 2018.
Acting minister for industry, trade and tourism, Reyes Maroto, says she is 'very concerned' about the shrinking numbers of British visitors – partly fuelled by the falling pound sterling making holidays in the Eurozone more expensive – and assures that her government is working hard to retain UK tourists' loyalty to Spain and to make it as easy as possible for them to travel to and stay in the country in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
British tourists, luckily for Spain, are always likely to be a feature, however, since with an estimated 275,000 UK nationals living in the country and its popularity for buying holiday homes, expatriates will continue to be visited by friends and family, and trips remain cheaper where accommodation is already available without having to pay for hotels or apartments.
But Maroto says although Brexit is 'a great unknown' that could affect tourism in Spain, and the extent of these effects impossible to predict, she believes the recovery of competitor destinations could be an even greater influence.
For Brits merely seeking warm weather, beaches and swimming pools, offers in the Greek islands, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey have usually managed to undercut Spain on price, although until recently, safety fears in light of repeat terrorist attacks drew holidaymakers away from the latter three and, during the Greek financial crisis, trips there became more expensive.
Now they are all becoming trusted destinations again, it is possible British sunseekers travelling to Spain will decline in number.
But, curiously, the region in Spain which sees by far the highest number of tourists is that of Madrid – land-locked, and much colder in late autumn, winter and early spring than the south and Mediterranean coasts – showing that foreign tourism in Spain is not exclusively, or even mainly, focused on sunshine and beaches but is also largely based upon culture, sightseeing and city breaks.
In any case, the reduction in British holidaymaker numbers in the month of June has been comfortably compensated for by a sharp rise in German and French tourists – of 8.4%, to 1.3 million for the former and 8%, to one million for the latter.
Brits still made up the largest country group in the first six months of 2019, despite their fewer numbers, and a fall was also seen in French tourist totals in the first half of the year, by 2.2% to 4.7 million.
Meanwhile, 5.3 million Germans came to Spain between January and June this year inclusive, an increase of 3.4% on the same period in 2018.
Emerging national tourism markets for Spain, which have seen a dramatic increase this year, include Switzerland (up by 20.1%), Portugal (a hike of 17.9%), and the USA, by 9.4%.
The Scandinavian countries and Italy have reduced as holidaymaker markets for Spain, with numbers down by 9.2% and 3.1% respectively.
Reyes Maroto says with the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the recovery of cheaper Mediterranean beach destinations, the Spanish tourism industry needs to try to attract other national markets – such as the USA, Japan and Russia - in anticipation of its traditional ones shrinking.
In terms of spending whilst on holiday in Spain, the Brits were the most flash, parting with a collective total of €7.75bn in the first half of 2019, and the 1% increase in their spending total in euros seems at odds with the fall seen in their national currency and in their numbers across the board.
Germans spent 2.1% more between January and June 2019 than in the same period in 2018 – an overall total of €5.3bn, averaging €1,000 each, and the French spent just under three billion, or 0.8% more.
In both cases, the amount spent per head has not necessarily increased, but has risen in line with higher numbers of these nationalities visiting Spain.
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