Spain forecasts 10 percent drop in foreign tourists

5th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish government said Thursday it expects to see a 10 percent drop this year in the number of foreign tourists in the country, the world's third most popular holiday destination.

Madrid - The Spanish government said Thursday it expects to see a 10 percent drop this year in the number of foreign tourists in the country, the world's third most popular holiday destination.

"We expect a fall in international tourism of around 10 percent this
year," Secretary of State for Tourism Joan Mesquida told Spanish
national radio.

However, he noted that domestic tourism had held up, even though the
country entered a recession in late 2008.

"Spaniards have not given up their holidays. The domestic market has
performed in a very similar way to last year," Mesquida said.

The tourism sector accounts for about 11 percent of Spain's jobs and
gross domestic product, with the bulk of the industry's income generated
in its ageing "sun and beach" destinations that dot its southern coast.

The country last year lost its spot as the second-most visited country
in the world to the United States, according to the UN World Tourism
Organisation. France remained in the top spot.

A total of 30.2 million people visited Spain in the first seven months
of the year -- a 10.3 decline over the corresponding period in 2008.

The global recession and the emergence of cheaper sunshine destinations
in other Mediterranean countries like Turkey and Tunisia are factors
blamed for the decline.

AFP / Expatica

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