Tourist arrivals plunge 15.9 pct in Spain: government

24th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Tourists, especially Britons, are shunning Spain as the pound weakens to near-parity with the euro.

MADRID – Tourist arrivals in Spain plunged 15.9 percent in February, with Britons in particular shunning the world's second largest holiday destination, the tourism ministry said Monday.

It said a total of 2.8 million foreign tourists visited Spain in February, down 15.9 percent over the same month last year.

Britain again provided the largest number of visitors, 676,000. But the figure was 23.4 percent less than in February 2008.

The weakening of the pound to near-parity with the euro has led many Britons to shun Spain's beaches and bars in favour of sunshine destinations outside of the eurozone such as Turkey and Egypt, which have become much cheaper.

Britain was followed by Germany, which provided 478,000 visitors, down 14.5 percent, and France, with 414,000 tourists, off 6.1 percent.

Spain reported a record 59.2 million visitors in 2007, before the global economic crisis. But this dropped to 2.6 percent to 57.41 million in 2008.

Spain is the world's second biggest tourist destination after France. The tourism sector accounts for about 11 percent of the country's jobs and gross domestic product.

AFP / Expatica

0 Comments To This Article