57.7 Million Tourists Expected by Year End

Spain will end the year having received over 57.7 million international tourists thanks to an increase of 6% expected in the fourth quarter (equivalent to around 11 million tourists), according to forecasts in the Coyuntur report for the third quarter of 2013, prepared by the Tourism Institute of Spain, under the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.

In the fourth quarter of 2013 the foreign demand for tourist services is expected to continue in the same positive manner of the preceding months. Projections indicate an increase in spending “of greater magnitude” than that previously predicted for international arrivals. Total tourism spending between October and December is expected to be around 11,300 million euros, up 8% on the same period of last year. Thus, the year would close with more than 58,000 million euros in spending, a rise of about 7% year-on-year, comfortably exceeding that of 2012.

By region, in the north of Europe the report highlights the United Kingdom, as maintaining a “very solid” and “positive” influence, as well as noting the dynamism of the Scandinavian markets, especially the Swedish and Norwegian. In central Europe, they give a “positive” forecast for Germany and Switzerland, while in southern Europe the report predicts solid growth for France, and Portugal and Italy remain negative.

On the other hand, in North America, they show poor results for the United States, while in Latin America they expect good results for the Colombian, Argentinian and Mexican markets, and a negative outlook for Brazil. In the Asia-Pacific zone they reflect the consolidation of Chinese tourism to Spain, so growth is expected as a whole.

In the third quarter, demand for tourist services were far from the slowdown experienced at the end of last year and the beginning of this. Tourism revenue in the balance of payments shows a trend of “smooth and steady increases,” says Coyuntur.

The report emphasises that external demand indicators showed growth in excess of that recorded in previous months. From July the political turmoil in Egypt harmed their tourism flows, which showed falling figures. Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey recorded notable growth in the summer months possibly due to the troubles of its neighbouring country.

For source markets, Diario Sur reported that the Scandinavian market showed the strongest growth, the French lost some momentum, and the Russian continues to show “good prospects”. The British and German markets showed more moderate trends with similar figures in increases of tourist arrivals and in total expenditure.

The rate of foreign tourist arrivals to the Spanish regions recorded an increase greater than in the previous months, with the exception of Madrid, whose negative values worsened. Andalusia and the Balearic Islands marked a more moderate growth rate than that of Catalonia, and Valencia is predicted to continue growing in double digits. In terms of spending, Catalonia and Valencia show a growth trend superior to the other regions. These are followed by the Canary Islands and then, farther down the line, Andalusia and the Balearic Islands, compared with the negative trend presented for Madrid.

In contrast, domestic demand by residents eased the negative trend and is showing “signs of a slight improvement.” “Internal trips and overnight stays by residents has lessened its decline,” according to the report, which highlights the positive values achieved in August. Travel abroad maintains the negative trend and the associated spending behaviour fell less than in the previous quarter.

The spending associated with the total trips made by residents has shown a downward trend since 2009, with a more intense decline in 2012, year-on-year, and which is already even lower in 2013. According to the report, the reduction in spending is because it is easier to replace hotel accommodation for free lodging with family or friends, or a second/holiday home and the plane for land transport.