Expatica news

Tourism recovers from 11 March

3 May 2004

QATAR – Spain’s tourism industry has recovered after the Madrid bomb attacks in March which killed 192 people, it was reported Monday.

In a study released at the Global Travel and Tourism Council Summit in Qatar, travel sector figures indicated a prompt and full recovery.

Following the 11 March terrorist attacks in Madrid, Spain compared well with other countries that suffered similar attacks.

“The effects were concentrated exclusively on the city of Madrid,” the report said.

In the study undertaken by Exceltur, a lobby group of 29 of Spain’s main tourist groups and companies, sector growth for the first quarter was between 3 percent and 4 percent.

Tourism would have been “extraordinarily good” had the attacks not happened, said Jose Luis Zoreda, chief executive of Exceltur.

Figures are most encouraging in the tourist areas of the Mediterranean coast and the Canary Islands where only around one third of businesses noted an effect on sales in the days following the blasts.

For almost half of businesses the impact was less than 5 percent and it was “business as usual” by 8 April, the report said.

In Madrid, 82 percent of tourist operators suffered sales losses following the attacks and 61 percent of Madrid hotel operators had not returned to normal sales three weeks later.

The study noted that tourist business shares recovered on the Madrid stock exchange within days and some rose to levels even higher than before the attacks.

The good news came after initial figures showed that tourism in Spain had plunged 13 percent in March 2003 following the launch of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The tourism industry accounts for 12 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) or total economic output and supports over one and a half million jobs.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

 Subject: Spanish news