Tourism officials predict drop in tourism figures for Spain in 2018

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FORECASTS: Oliver (inset) was speaking at a Madrid tourism event CREDIT: Shutterstock, Congress of Deputies (inset)

A TOTAL of 81 million people from overseas are expected to have holidayed in Spain by the end of this year, 0.8 per cent less than in 2017.

Figures from the Ministry of Tourism predict tourism figures for this year will not exceed the 81.8 million seen by the end of last year. Both 2017 and 2016 broke records for the number of holidaymakers.

Tourism officials expect an increase in spending from tourists of 3 per cent by the end of this year, from €87 billion last year to around €90 billion this year.

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Isabel Oliver, Spain’s Tourism Minister, said the industry should focus on increasing its money making potential and spread its offering across different types of holidays.

“We must stop measuring tourism success on the number of visitors and focus more on income,” Oliver said while speaking at an industry conference in Madrid earlier this week.

“We also need to present ourselves as a quality destination with a degree of sophistication and a diverse offering. We have aspire to be number one in the quality sector as well,” Oliver said.

Spain is currently the fourth favourite destination for non-European Union (EU) tourists holidaying in the bloc behind France, Britain and Italy.

Oliver said Spain needed to attract visitors from emerging markets such as China. Around 515,000 Chinese travellers visited Spain last year out of 13.6 million that holidayed in Europe, according to industry statistics.

Lyu Fan, China’s ambassador to Spain who appeared at the Madrid conference, said he was “convinced” more people from his country would start to holiday in Spain.

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