Tourist receipts in Spain set to shrink
Exceltur says foreign tourist receipts in 2008 would fall by 3.6 percent and number of visitors would fall by 0.1 percent.17 October 2008
MADRID -- Spain's mighty tourist industry is set to contract this year at a time when the economy is already heading for a recession for the first time in 15 years, an industry association said Thursday.
Exceltur, which groups together the country's travel companies, forecast foreign tourist receipts in 2008 would fall by 3.6 percent, while the number of visitors would drop by 0.1 percent and fall short of the 60 million predicted at the start of the year.
Receipts in the first eight months of the year climbed 3.0 percent from a year earlier to EUR 34.965 billion. The number of foreign visitors in the same period was flat at 41.2 million.
Spain is starting to feel the effects of a downturn in the economies of its major markets, such as Britain and Germany. Visitors from Britain, which is also expected to suffer a recession, are opting to stay in cheaper alternative forms of accommodation to hotels.
Exceltur said while the average stay per visitor had increased, tourists are spending less per day.
The association said its so-called tourism GDP contracted 0.4 percent in the third quarter and is forecast to fall by 0.1 percent for the whole of 2008, the first drop since 2002.
Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Spain's GDP and is a key source of employment and foreign income. Spain is the second biggest tourist destination in the world.
[El Pais / Adrián Soto / Expatica]