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Barcelona is the fourth European city with the most tourists after London, Paris and Rome

The number of tourists in Barcelona hotels grew by 0.7% in 2012 compared to the previous year. In total, Barcelona hosted 7.44 million tourists in the city’s hotels. A study by the Barcelona Tourism board revealed that the significant increase in foreign tourists compensated for the 6.8% drop in Spanish visitors. The number of tourists from Russia and Eastern Europe increased by 32%, those from the United Kingdom grew by 12%, those from the United States grew by 4.7% and those from Germany increased by 4.3%. Spanish visitors continue to be the largest group of guests to Barcelona hotels, with 1.62 million people.

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12 April 2013 01:16 AM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- A study by the Barcelona Tourism board presented on Thursday emphasised that the number of tourists in Barcelona hotels grew by 0.7% in 2012 compared to the previous year. In total, Barcelona hosted 7.44 million tourists in the city\u2019s hotels. The study also revealed that the significant increase in foreign tourists compensated for the 6.8% drop in Spanish visitors. The number of tourists from Russia and Eastern Europe increased by 32%, those from the United Kingdom grew by 12% and those from the United States grew by 4.7%. Spanish visitors continue to be the largest group of guests to Barcelona hotels, with 1.62 million people. At the presentation of the study, the President of Barcelona\u2019s Tourism Board, Joan Gaspart, emphasised that Barcelona is the fourth European city with the most tourists after London, Paris and Rome.


In total, Barcelona hosted 7.44 million tourists in its hotels during 2012. North-American tourists represented the highest number of foreign hotel visitors, with 635,000 people. They were followed by UK citizens (593,000 individuals), French (572,000), Italians (491,000) and Germans (415,000). The President of the city\u2019s Tourism Board linked the drop in French and Italian visitors (-3.6% and -12.2% respectively) to the economic crisis. However, the number of German tourists grew by 4.3%.

The economic crisis has considerably affected the number of tourists coming from Spain, whose number dropped by 6.8%. Spanish visitors are the largest group of guests to Barcelona hotels, with 1.62 million people. They represent 21.8% of the total number of visitors. Therefore, a significant drop in Spanish tourists could be very bad news for the Catalan capital tourist sector and hotels. However, in 2012, the drop in Spanish tourists was compensated for by the increase in foreign visitors.

Since the trend is likely to continue in 2013 and 2014, the Board will concentrate its promotion activities outside Spain. \u201CIt is useless to invest a single euro looking for tourists in the Spanish market; we prefer to look for them in markets with a higher purchasing power\u201D, stated the General Director of Turisme de Barcelona (Barcelona\u2019s Tourism Board), Pere Duran.

During 2013, the Catalan capital\u2019s Tourism Board will carry out 26 promotional activities in the United States and Canada and 12 activities in each of the three main Western European markets: France, Germany and the United Kingdom. In addition, it will develop 10 promotional activities in Russia. With these events, the Board expects to attract visitors with a high purchasing power. Therefore, Gaspart was confident about the 2013 figures and said that they expect to repeat the positive results from 2012.

In addition, Barcelona\u2019s Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs, Sònia Recasens, explained that the city hotels have collected around \u20AC5.5 million with the tourist fee, implemented last year. 50% of the money will be for Barcelona\u2019s Tourism Board, to carry out promotional activities. On this fee, Gaspart added that, despite the controversy it generated a year ago, he \u201Cwould support again the tourist tax\u201D and now \u201Chalf of Spain is asking us how it is working\u201D.

Besides, Recasens presented a study made by the City Council about the acceptance of tourism among Barcelonans. According to the report, 96.3% of Barcelona residents believe that tourism is \u201Cbeneficial\u201D for the city. Last year the percentage was 94.8%. Furthermore, 72% of them consider that Barcelona has to continue attracting more visitors and 89% of the city residents think that this economic activity \u201Ccreates many jobs\u201D.

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  • Barcelona's Arts Hotel (left tower) next to the Torre Mapfre (right tower) (by ACN)

  • Barcelona's Arts Hotel (left tower) next to the Torre Mapfre (right tower) (by ACN)