Spanish Government Fears a Slowdown in Tourism Due to Fall in Arrivals by Germans and British

31 August 2018

COMPETITION FROM GREECE, EGYPT AND TURKEY / “The symptoms of the slowdown we have observed are beginning to consolidate,” Turespaña expects the year to end with “very moderate, zero or negative growth.”

The Government of Pedro Sanchez has added its voice to the experts forecasting a turbulent year for tourism, believing that the sector could end the year with “very moderate, zero or negative growth.”

Successive falls in the main indicators (e.g. hotel occupancy rates, overnight stays, prices) and comments by representatives of the sector, such as Exceltur, sounded the alarm several months ago, warning that the sector was in the throes of a slowdown.

“The behaviour of our three major emitting markets, and that of Italy, the Netherlands and the US, can tilt the balance between very moderate growth and zero or negative growth,” the Spanish government warned through Turespaña in its Quarterly Prospective Report for International Tourism, published at the end of August.

“We must not forget that 2017 was an absolute record year across the board,” sources at the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Tourism said in statements to this newspaper. In 2017, Spain received almost 82 million tourists, a figure that made Spain a world leader in international arrivals, only behind France.

Even so, the forecast for arrivals for the period from July to October is positive, with an estimated increase of 2.4% in the number of tourists, for a total number of arrivals for this period nearing 38 million.

The report notes that “the symptoms of the slowdown we have observed are beginning to consolidate.” The problem is that Spain’s two principal emitting markets for tourists both began to opt for other destinations. The price of oil, the appreciation of the euro, the effects of Brexit and the insecurity generated by the independence movement in Catalonia are some of the proximate causes. In July, the number of German tourists who visited Spain fell by 11%, and the number of British arrivals fell by 6%. Between July and October, Turespaña expects British tourists to fall by 4.2%, and overnight stays by Germans will fall by 5.1%.

German tourists begin to replace Spain with Greece as a destination. “Although it is less well-known than Spain, it gets higher marks ​​in the minds of German tourists as a unique destination,” says another report by Turespaña. In the case of British tourists, Turkey and Egypt have recovered their shares of the reservations of tour operators, to the detriment of Spain, which registered a fall of 4% in reservations between July and October, losing a 3.6%-share.

Turespaña does expect that tourist spending will continue to increase at a good pace, with an expected increase of 5.3% between July and October. “We are working to attract tourists with greater purchasing power and to lengthen their stays to increase spending,” they explain.

Original Story: ProOrbyt Expansión – I. Benedito

Translation: Richard Turner

 

78