International tourism drops by 7% during July
Foreign spending increases despite decrease in visitors from abroad
Catalonia received 6.7% less international tourists in July compared to the same period last year, with a total of 2,385,684 visitors. Despite this, foreign tourist spending actually increased during one of the biggest months of the summer season alongside August.
The drop in visitors spending their holidays in Catalonia has been put down to various factors. Among them is the fact that previous popular tourist destinations have been recovering.
Terror attacks in Tunisia and Egypt, for example, caused a shock to their tourist industries. Barcelona, one of the most popular destinations in Europe, was seen as a good alternative to these locations, deemed dangerous after the attacks.
Greece is also on the rise again as a popular summer holiday destination in Europe. “Markets that were closed have opened,” said the president of Barcelona Tourism, Jordi Clos, referring to Egypt, Tunisia and Greece
Last year’s terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils as well as the political turmoil at the end of the year during Catalonia’s push for independence may also have played a role in the decrease in numbers.
"The tourism sector was affected, we had three or four days with significant drops in tourism," said Manel Casals, the director general of the main association representing Barcelona’s hotels, in an interview with Catalan News talking about La Rambla attacks.
"A lot has happened since then. At the end of 2017 we went through a complicated socio-political situation and even today we are still perceiving the effects of both," he said.
According to Casals, “recovery has not been absolute, but overall it has been good,” referring to tourism in general in the country.
The summer season in 2017, however, did see an unprecedented number of people coming to the country, according to figures from Spain’s tourist statistics office (Frontur.)
Last July alone, a total of 2.6 million international visitors came to Catalonia, 6.5% more than the same month in 2016 when 2.4 million people from abroad came to the country, a figure similar to that of 2018.
Increase in spending
The total spending of foreign tourists in July increased by 3.2% this year, bringing the figure to 2.8 billion euros.
This works out as 1,177 euros per person, marking an individual increase of 4.2% compared to the same period last year.