Spain’s sunny costas have reported an upsurge in tourist numbers this summer as its key source markets of the UK and Germany begin to travel again following the downturn.
Overnight stays by foreign tourists in Spain rose by 11 per cent in July this year, compared to the same time in 2009, according to official figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute.
The figures are the first sign of a break with the staycation trend which led to UK sales of foreign holidays falling 15 per cent last year, according to Britain’s Office of National Statistics.
The poor British summer, on top of last year’s wash-out, coupled with a strengthen of the pound have rekindled in Spain’s costas. Aggressive cost cutting by tour operators of up to 40 percent have helped to the rebound.
However 30 million foreign tourists arrived in Spain in the first seven months, down 0.4 percent on the same period in 2009.
Spain is the world’s third most visited country, after France and the United States, and tourism accounts for nearly 10 percent of its GDP.
But Spain has been one of the hardest hit European Union countries during the downturn, especially its tourism sector. The country’s unemployment rate hit 20.05 percent in the first quarter, the highest level in the eurozone, and its highest reading since 1997 as the collapse of a property bubble continued to take its toll.