Spain's tourism industry continues to enjoy a great summer season in 2017 thanks to the continuously rising number of tourist arrivals. More tourists traveled the country in July but how will terror attacks in August affect Spanish tourism industry?
According to the National Statistics Institute, in July 2017, Spain hosted over 10.5 million foreign tourists; an increase of 10.1% year-on-year. In the first seven months of the year, the number of visitors rose 11.3 per cent to 46.9 million.
Northeastern Catalonia, a popular destination due to its Mediterranean coastline, was the most visited region in July.
British tourists remained the largest group of visitors to Spain by nationality, accounting for 22.1 per cent of the total, in spite of Britain's vote to leave the European Union in 2016 and the falling value of sterling since. Just over 2.3 million Britons travelled to Spain in July, up seven per cent from a year earlier.
Although Spain has a long and bloody history of domestic terrorism and the nation has recovered from those terrorist incidents but the consequences of these latest attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils are unclear. Barcelona and Cambrils are both located in Catalonia, in northeast Spain.
The Sun reported that the attacks have had no effect on Barcelona airport or Reus airport near Salou. Flights are continuing as usual – although Barcelona airport is already suffering from long queues thanks to strikes by staff.
Spain’s energy and tourism minister Alvaro Nadal said on Thursday that growth in flights to Barcelona, dipped a little after the attacks but was now rising again. Nadal commented that the initial shock is normal and always happens in these situations, but it has been much less than in comparable cases.
Spain welcomed 75 million tourists in 2016, making it the third most-visited country worldwide. The tourism sector accounts for 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).