Spain reports sharp fall in tourist activity

24th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays by overseas visitors from France and Britain plunge in October and November.

MADRID – Spain, the world's second-biggest holiday destination, registered a sharp drop in tourist activity in October and November, official data showed on Tuesday.

Hotel occupancy rates plummeted 10.6 percent in November on a 12-month basis, following a 5.1-percent drop in October, the National Statistics Institute said.

The number of overnight stays by overseas visitors declined particularly sharply, with those by British and French citizens down 12.1 and 11.8 percent respectively in November.

Tourist arrivals also plunged in October and November, by 5.4 percent and 11.6 percent respectively, the tourism ministry said.

Over the first 11 months of the year, tourist arrivals were down 2.0 percent from the same period in 2007 at 54.6 million.

Spain is the second most popular tourist destination in the world after France and the sector represents about 12 percent of the total economy.

The country received 59.2 million visitors in 2007, up 1.7 percent over 2006, and had been predicting a 4.0 percent increase for this year. But the global economic crisis has affected the sector badly.

Spain has recently been trying to promote more upmarket tourism, even though the country is known largely as a destination for budget package tours.

[AFP / Expatica]

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