Twice the number of tourists from Ukraine to visit Catalonia in 2012

Tourism from Russia and former Soviet republics has been increasing in Catalonia over the last few years. The Russian tour operator Natalie Tours announced that it will bring 35,000 Ukrainian tourists to Spain, 80% them going to Catalan beaches and the rest to the Canary Islands. Within the next 5 years, the number of Ukrainian tourists is expected to reach half million people. Furthermore, the number of tourists from Eastern Europe is expected to increase between 35% and 40%.

CNA / Roger Segura

April 11, 2012 11:44 PM

Vila-seca (ACN).- Catalonia is becoming well known and attractive for Ukrainian tourists. On Wednesday, the Russian tour operator Natalie Tours announced it will bring 35,000 tourists from Ukraine to Spain, and 80% of them will go to Catalan beaches. This means that twice as many as last year. Most of them will land at Barcelona El Prat Airport between April and October. They will go either to the Costa Brava in Girona, or to the Costa Daurada, in southern Catalonia. Ukrainian visitors tend to stay during a long period (12 nights on average) and spend a significant amount of money (€1,700 per person). They also tend to be interested in shopping, gastronomy and wines, as well as going on excursions and small cultural trips. They visit the city of Barcelona, Gaudí monuments, PortAventura theme park and Dalí Museum in Figueres. Furthermore, 35% return to Catalonia. All this data was released during a conference with 130 directors of Ukrainian travel agencies held in Vila-seca, next to Tarragona and PortAventura, in the Costa Daurada.

Tour operator Natalie Tours has opened links from April to the end of October between Barcelona El Prat Aiport and Kiev, Donetsk and Kharkov. The tour operator also flies to the Canary Islands from Kiev. They are expecting to double the number of plane seats offered linking Spain with Ukraine, passing from 16,000 tourists in 2011 to a figure between 32,000 and 35,000 in 2012. 80% of these tourists will stay in Catalonia, equally distributed in the Costa Daurada and in the Costa Brava. Joan Pascual, General Manager of NT Incoming –the leading company receiving Russian and Ukrainian tourists in Spain– said that last year 70% of the Ukrainian tourists stayed in the Costa Brava, and now they want to promote the Costa Daurada as well.

The General Manager of Natalie Tours, Natalia Vorobieva, stated that the Ukrainian market is “very promising”. Currently Ukraine has 45 million inhabitants and the Russian Federation 140 million. Vorobieva believes that in just 5 years time the number of tourists coming from Ukraine might represent half of the current number of Russian tourists in Spain, which are 1 million per year and almost all go to the Mediterranean beaches. Furthermore, since Ukraine is now experiencing an economic growth rate of 4.8% per year, she said, this European country offers great possibilities for the future.

The number of tourists from Eastern Europe is expected to increase between 35% and 40% this year

Natalie Tours transported 200,000 Russian tourists to Spain in 2011. In 2012 they expect to bring between 35% and 40% more visitors from the entire Eastern Europe compared to last year. Vorobieva emphasised that part of this increase is due to the increased facilities for issuing visas in Spain’s embassy in Kiev.