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Spain sees fall in July tourist visits for second year running

Fewer holidaymakers from the United Kingdom and Germany contributed to the slowdown, but it did not affect spending, which rose 2.2% on last year’s figure

turismo españa julio
Other countries are offering cheaper beach trips than Spain.

Competition from cheaper vacation destinations than Spain is clear to see in tourism figures for July. According to data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), a total of 9.9 million foreign tourists came to the country in that month, which represents a 1.3% fall on the same period in 2018. This is the second consecutive year that the figure has fallen in July, and is mostly down to reduced visits from Spain’s two main markets: the United Kingdom and Germany.

Meanwhile, tourist spending continued to rise. Visitors to the country from abroad spent €11.98 billion on their journeys to Spain, 2% up on July of last year, and with an average daily spend per tourist of €160, a 4.9% rise on last year’s figure.

Visitors to the country from abroad spent €11.98 billion on their journeys to Spain, 2% up on July of last year

Last year, the reduction in visits was partly down to a heatwave at the beginning of summer, which saw many Central European tourists stay in their countries and delay their vacations. This year, a fresh heatwave at the end of July appears to have had the same effect. What’s more, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia are offering beach destinations at prices that are, in general, more competitive than Spain’s. Brexit, as the UK’s impending exit from the European Union is known, a slowdown in the UK economy and the threat of recession in Germany have also made consumers more sensitive to the prices of Spanish beach and sun trips.

July saw a total of 2.16 million Britons visit Spain, 2.2% down on last year. Last year’s figure represented a 2.6% fall on July 2017. That means that in two years, 161,000 fewer British tourists have visited Spain, with the fall for the year so far at 1.6%. In the second case, 143,000 fewer German tourists came in July of this year compared to the same month in 2017. This July saw 1.24 million visitors, 3% down on last year’s figure. The reduced number of visits had its effect on Spanish hotels, with 11.8% fewer overnight stays among German tourists, albeit with a 1.2% increase for Britons.

In general, the falls have been mostly seen among Central European tourists, such as Belgians (-2%), Dutch (-4.82%) and Swiss (-8.6%). Meanwhile, visits grew among the French (2.3%, up to 1.4 million), Irish (6.7%) and Russians (5.21%).

Tourists from the United States came in at 429,666 in July, 19.8% up on a year ago. In the year so far, nearly two million Americans have visited Spain, 14.24% up on the same period in 2018.

In total, Spain received 9.88 million foreign tourists in July, 133,199 fewer than the year before (-1.3%) and 606,391 fewer than in July 2017, which was the best month of July on record. However, the numbers for this year so far are still an improvement on the same period in 2018: 48.06 tourist visits in total, which is 1.9% up on the first seven months of last year.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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