Spain sees tourism jump due to Arab revolts
Thursday 14 April 2011
Activity in Spain's tourism sector jumped 2.4 percent in the first quarter of the year as sunseekers shunned rival resorts in Egypt and Tunisia because of anti-government uprisings there, a trade association said Wednesday.
The Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean and major cities on the mainland were the main beneficiares, thanks to the recovery of business tourism and to foreigners taking short breaks, the Exceltur umbrella tourism trade association said.
There was "a notable increase of 2.4 percent of tourism GDP in the first quarter, the biggest increase of all the sectors of the economy," it said.
"The strong and unexpected surge in activity is mainly due to the current redirection of overseas demand from Egypt and Tunisia, which has benefited the Canaries almost exclusively."
Predictions of continued instability in the eastern Mediterranean "augurs well for the second quarter in coastal areas of Spain linked to foreign demand," it said.
As a result, Exceltur said it was raising its tourism sector 2011 growth forecast 2.2 percent, almost double its January estimate.
Spain has struggled in recent years to compete with beach destinations in Egypt's Red Sea and Tunisia's Mediterranean coast which are cheaper and of a similar flying distance from its key markets like Germany and Britain.
But since the unrest sweeping the Arab world began in Tunisia in early January, tourists have been changing their travel plans and many have opted for the Canary Islands which tend to offer all inclusive packages like those in the seaside resorts of Tunisia and Egypt.
Spain slipped from third to fourth place among the world's most visited countries in 2010, behind France, the United States and China, according to figures from the UN World Tourism Organisation.
The Spanish economy contracted 0.1 percent in 2010 after shrinking 3.7 percent in the previous year following the collapse of a property boom that had fueled growth for more than a decade.
The government has predicted the economy will grow 1.3 percent this year.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The most powerful passports in the world
Iceland's new 500m tunnel through one of Europe's largest glaciers: Welcome to the ice age
The 10 Best hiking boots
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...