Catalonia maintains its Spanish tourist market leadership with record number of international visitors
Catalonia has consolidated its position as Spain’s top destination for international tourists, strengthening its leadership during the summer months but also throughout the year. 11.04 million foreigners visited Catalonia between January and August, 26.1% of all the 42.3 million international tourists who visited Spain in that period. The Balearic Islands (19.7%) and the Canary Islands (15.9%) follow Catalonia’s lead. Furthermore, all the historical records at Spanish and Catalan level were broken last August: 8.3 million tourists visited Spain during that month, and 27% of them chose Catalonia as their destination. This represents more than 2.25 million foreigners visiting Catalonia in a single month, a 12.3% increase on data from August 2012.
Barcelona (ACN).- Catalonia has consolidated its position as Spain’s top destination for international tourists, strengthening its leadership during the summer months but also throughout the year, according to data released on Monday by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. 11.04 million foreigners visited Catalonia between January and August, 6.5% more people than in the same period of 2012. The figures confirm Catalonia’s leadership; 26.1% of all the 42.3 million international tourists who visited Spain in that period chose Catalonia as their destination. The Catalan Autonomous Community was followed by the Balearic Islands (19.7%) and the Canary Islands (15.9%). Most of the Autonomous Communities have registered positive figures except the Region of Madrid, which suffered a 22% drop in international visitors during the first 8 months of the year, mostly because of a decrease in tourists from Italy and Latin America. The whole of Spain experienced a 4.5% increase in the number of foreigners visiting the country in that period. The Spanish Minister for Tourism, José Manuel Soria, announced that the forecasts for the last quarter of the year are “quite positive”. If forecasts were realized, 2013 would be the year Spain received the largest number of foreigners ever. According to the Spanish Government, the main causes behind the excellent figures are the strength of traditional markets (such as the UK and France), the dynamism of emerging markets (such as Russia) and the conflicts in Egypt and other south-Mediterranean countries, which make tourists choose other sunny destinations such as Spain. However, Soria emphasised that the challenge now is to recover domestic tourism, which dropped by 6.9% throughout Spain.
Spending of international visitors increased by 9.8% in Catalonia
The spending of international tourists in Catalonia during the first 8 months of the year increased by 9.8% on 2012 figures. At Spanish level, it increased by 7%. Once again, foreigners’ spending increased throughout Spain except in Madrid, where it dropped by 1.5%.
An historical August
Besides data for the first 8 months of the year, last August was a particularly excellent month regarding the arrival of international visitors, becoming the best month ever at both Spanish and Catalan level. 8.3 million tourists visited Spain during last month, a 7.1% increase compared to the same month of 2012. The main sending market was the United Kingdom, bringing 24.3% of the visitors, who mostly went to Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. The UK was followed by France, bringing 21.7% of the international tourists, an increase of 150,000 people compared to last year’s figures. Most of the French visitors went to Catalonia. Furthermore, most of the Russian tourists chose Catalonia as their destination.
Catalonia attracts 27% of international tourists
On top of this, Catalonia is once again the main tourist destination in Spain, also during the summer. 27% of the foreigners visiting Spain in August chose Catalonia as their destination. This represents more than 2.25 million foreigners travelling to this Autonomous Community in a single month, a 12.3% increase on data from August 2012.
International tourists booked 6.17 million hotel nights in Catalonia in August
For the first time ever, Catalan hotels registered more than 6 million nights booked by international tourists in a single month, according to data released on Monday by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). Specifically, 6.165 million hotel nights were booked by foreigners and 2.160 million nights were booked by Spanish nationals during the month of August. Last year in August, foreigners made use of 5.801 million hotel nights in Catalonia. While the number of nights booked by foreigners in 2013 represents an historical record, the total booked by Spanish nationals is far from the 2010 record, with 2.553 million nights. In fact, the number of Spanish citizens registered in Catalan hotels in August reached 761,423 people, far short of the 831,516 nationals of August 2011.Meanwhile, the number of foreigners registered in Catalan hotels last month reached 1.442 million people, an absolute record (at least since 1999, when this statistical record started).