Tourist Numbers Increased 14% In February

Tourist numbers continue to rise
Tourist numbers continue to rise

Tourists continue to flock to Spain as other once favoured destinations are avoided due to continuing security fears.

February saw 3.7 million international tourists travel to Spain representing a 13.7% increase over the same period in the previous year, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute.

British tourists came in the largest numbers, once again, accounting for 22% (806,835) of the total arrivals during February. This representas an increase of 17.1% when compared to February 2015.

French and German tourists were the second largest groups with 529,716 and 481,219, respectively. French travellers increased by 8.5% on the annual rate, while Germans increased by 7.4%.

The UK, France and Germany have long been the largest source of tourists for Spain but this year has seen increases in numbers from other countries too. Traveller numbers from Russia have increased substantially showing a 19.8% gain, when compared to Feb 2015. American traveller numbers increased by 18.4% while the number of tourists from Ireland grew by 17.3% during February.

Tourist Destinations

The Canary Islands proved to be the most popular area attracting 30.3% of the total travellers. This was followed by Catalonia with 25.3% of the total, while Andalucia accounted for 13.4%.

The Canary Islands saw a 10.5% increase, when compared to the same period in 2015, rising to 1,114,737 tourists. The majority came from the UK with 31.9% of the total, while Nordic countries accounted for 22.3%.

The number of tourists visiting Catalonia during February increased by 13% over the same month in 2015, to over 930,000, while Andalucia saw annual growth of 14.3%, representing almost half a million tourists.

The Balearic Islands saw phenomenal growth for February with an annual increase of 42.1%. This has been put down, in part, to increased supply of accommodation. Valencia saw an increase of 24.4% whle Madrid saw gains of 12% over 2015.

Where, Why, and How long?

Hotel stays increased by 16.3% during February while the numbers renting a private property for their stay fell by 2.1% on the annual rate.

The number of tourists staying with friends or family rose by 13.6%.

The main reason stated by travellers for the visit was leisure, recreation and holidays, accounting for 2,814,038. This represents annual growth of 7.3%.

Business travellers represented 439,747 visitors during February, a huge 45.4% increase, while 37.4% of travellers stated “other” as their reason for travelling.

The number of travellers that stayed for between four and seven nights increased 17.1% to 1.8 million, while 681,851 travellers stayed for between eight and 15 nights. Long stay travellers (more than 15 nights) increased by 6.5% on the annual rate to 275,876.

Semana Santa (Easter) came early this year and has just passed. It was very, very busy with unusally hot weather for this time of year adding to the madness. Marbella and Puerto Banus were chaotic! The roads were jammed, parking was scarce and the beaches were full. I look forward to seeing the offical figures for March and expect them to be high!

If the trends of the first few months continue then 2016 is going to be a great year for tourism!



$1.3 Billion of property to sell this year

It’s not just money worries in Spain now, excess property seems to be an issue and not just for agencies.

Two of Spain’s largest regions, Catalonia and Andalusia are trying to sell $1.3 billion of property by the end of the year as the country tries to slash its budget deficit and spiralling borrowing costs.

In an interview in Barcelona, Jacint Boixasa, director of assets for Catalonia, said “We put the cream of the crop in the portfolios to ensure the sales are completed,”. “Our target is to sell 550 million euros ($742 million) of real estate by year- end, which is relatively little time.”

Spain is keen to avoid the need for a bailout, the likes of which we saw in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and is planning to cut the nations deficit from 9.2% in 2010 to 6% of GDP. Spain’s credit rating was put on review in August in response to financial problems in the regions.

The authorities in Catalonia are attempting to sell 37 properties one of which is the Barcelona stock market on one of Spain’s most expensive commercial streets, Paseo de Garcia. The government are being advised on the sales by Aguirre Newman, real-estate consultants in Madrid.

BNP Paribas SA were hired in Andalusia to assist in raising up-to 400 millions Euros from selling 76 properties. These include youth centers in Malaga and the cultural department in Granada. Following a sale the government will then lease the buildings at a cost of around 30 million Euros per year, which seems a bit stupid to me!

Off topic a bit I know but my suggestion to the Spanish government would be to cut 10% off unemployment payments, now, today. If you don’t live in Spain you probably don’t know how much “dole” you can get here. The usual is somewhere around 80% of your previous salary. So if you were paid 1000 euros per month (for at least 3 months) you will receive around 800 Euros per month in benefits. So imagine how much is paid out every month! It’s astounding! Where is the encouragement to get back to work? There isn’t any! Many people, I’m sure, get their money and sit on the beach all day because they have no motivation to look for work.*

Cut the money, save some cash and give people a reason to look for work! 2 birds, 1 stone.