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First Quarter 2014 - Foreign tourists rise
15 April 2014 @ 16:55

A total of 10.1 million foreign tourists visited Spain during the first quarter of 2014, representing an increase of 7.9% over the same period of 2013. This is according to data published in the Coyuntur report last week by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, which confirmed the upward trend in not only international but also in domestic tourism.

Growth in all the major tourism markets contributed to the positive results, such as the number of tourists from Italy increasing by 8.9% to a total of 546,000. However, the UK remained the main source of tourists to Spain, accounting for 1.9 million people who visited the country in the first three months of the year, representing an increase of 6.7%. France and Germany were the next largest source markets, both with 1.6 million tourists and increases of 8.8% and 5.2%, respectively, followed by the Scandinavian countries, with 1.2 million tourists, and an increase of 8.3%.

Also noted, was the increase in tourist expenditure during the quarter. Specifically, international tourists spent 9,827 million euros, which equates to an increase of 5.6% over the same period of 2013. The study also shows growth of 7.4% in the number of overnight stays by non-resident tourists, reaching more than 91 million overnight stays.

The Canary Islands was the region which received most foreign tourists, with 3.1 million arrivals and an increase of 10.2% in the quarter, followed by Catalonia (2.5 million tourists), Andalucía (1.2 million), Madrid (977,000) and Valencia (904,000).

The report also highlighted the important increase in domestic tourism, with the Spanish travelling 2.9% more up until the end of March, with a total of 31.1 million trips. Domestic travel increased by 4%, while trips abroad fell by 1.8%. Overnight stays by domestic tourists fell by 0.3%, to 116.2 million stays recorded in the first quarter.

Andalusia was the favourite destination for the Spanish, with 4.7 million visits, despite an 18.5% drop in overnight stays, followed by Catalonia, with 4.1 million visits and an increase of 59.2% in hotel stays, and Valencia with 3.1 million visits and a 1.8% decline in overnight stays.

In addition, the report predicts that international tourist arrivals will exceed 17 million in the second quarter, 9.6% more than last year. These good tourism results have enabled the creation of 34,098 jobs, up 2.7% from the previous year. This represents 30% of the total of new Social Security contributors in those months, stated the Alliance for Tourism Excellence, Exceltur.

“These findings strengthen the capacity of tourism to accelerate economic recovery and job creation”, said executive vice president of Exceltur, José Luis Zoreda.

In addition, Diario Sur reported that the forecasts for Easter are positive, with 56% of tourism businesses expecting a moderate rise in sales over the previous year. According to the Exceltur study, Spanish tourism will grow by 2% in 2014 thanks to the strong increase in international tourist arrivals and the recovery of domestic demand which, said Zoreda, “opens a promising horizon for the sector in 2014″.

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