Expat and local businesses fear downturn as Andalusia tourism slumps

Published:  6 Apr at 6 PM
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British expat businesses as well as Spanish owners of tourism-related enterprises are worried about an unexpected drop in visitor numbers over the past several months.

Whilst other regions in Spain are still seeing increases in visitor numbers, Andalusia’s total fell for the first time since the middle of 2016 by 3.1 per cent. At the same time, its rival regions of the Canaries and Catalunya saw 2.8 per cent and .8 per cent more visitors than in February 2017. British visitors make up 30 per cent of Andalusia’s tourist numbers, with British expat businesses benefiting from the region’s popularity with visitors as well as local expats. Visits by Britons to Spain as a whole also fell by 5.9 per cent, worrying the country’s tourism chiefs.

It’s not just British visitors who’re bypassing Spain, as French tourist numbers for the same period dropped by 2.2 per cent. French visitors are the country’s third largest market, and the combination of shortfalls is causing concern amongst hoteliers and retailers. A spokesperson from one of the country’s largest hotel chains puts the decline in visitor numbers down to Turkey’s renaissance as a tourism hub, the increasing popularity of Egypt and Tunisia and the poor exchange rate between the euro and the pound sterling.

Tunisia is expected to see a 15 per cent increase in profits from tourism this year and is preparing for an influx of visitors as a response to its upgraded security following the 2015 terrorist attacks in its popular resorts. Package tourism companies including Thomas Cook and TUI are returning to the marketplace after three years’ absence. In spite of Spain’s worries, the silver lining of the drop in visitor numbers lies in their spending habits, with revenues up by 11.8 per cent to €664 million, suggesting Spain is now attracting wealthier tourists.
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