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
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
New York woman gives up $95,000 a year job to work in an ice cream parlour in the Caribbean
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
The 10 Best hiking boots
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...
£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...
£24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...