Global political instability and, especially, turmoil in the Middle East may prompt tourists from many European (and non-European too) countries to seek for safe resorts – something that the Spanish tourism industry is able to offer. On the top of that, the latest backlash of the Turkish President with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Dutch authorities led to increasing worries of the tourists, who could have chosen Turkey as their resort destination in the past.
But not only President Erdogan’s backlash with the European policymakers benefits the Spanish tourism industry. Turkey, which is one of the main resorts for European and post-USSR tourists, has recently experienced a number of terracts, an attempted coup, shooting of the Russian ambassador, and the referendum about cementing the power of the increasingly authoritarian Turkish president. That row of events, indeed, provide pretty good reasons to consider chilling out near the sea elsewhere.
Spanish resorts are likely to receive more visitors this year
The situation in other countries that have usually offered cheap solutions for tourists who seek only sun, sea and beaches is also not that much better. Tunisia and Egypt remain persistently unstable in the increasingly unsafe region. ISIS, which was supposed to be completely eliminated just a few months ago, seems to be back in the big game.
The Spanish tourism industry, on the contrary, is ready to welcome new tourists who are seeking for safe resorts. Spain hasn’t also been struck by terracts that scattered across the European countries – France, Germany, Belgium, and the UK, which sent the number of visitors to those countries down (especially in regards to France).
The data do not seem to contradict those predictions. According to the Spanish National Institute of Statistics, the number of tourists grew to the number of 75.6 million in 2016, a growth of solid 10.3 percent from 2015. As the tension in the world continued to rise, the growing flows of tourists to Spain did not stop to pick Spain among other destinations as well. In January of 2017, 3.9 million visitors came to Spain, which is up to 10.7 percent more year-to-year. Though, observers predict that the Spanish tourism industry may enjoy a noticeably lower increase in the number of visitors in 2017, caused by two factors: weak economic growth in the majority of both developing and developed countries, as well as the growing commodity prices.
The majority of tourists who come to Spain are the Brits. This year, more than 17.8 million citizens of the United Kingdom are expected to come to Spain, which shows that Brexit did not have that much effect on the travel preferences of the British citizens. On the other hand, hoteliers lament that more and more people tend to choose Airbnb and similar platforms over staying at a hotel. Gabriel Escarrer, a representative of Sol Melia Hotel Group, noted that “a new model for Spanish tourism must be developed. The concept “sea, beach, and sun” is out of date.”
The Spanish tourism industry is one of the largest sectors of the Spanish economy. It amounts to 11.2 percent of the country’s annual GDP. More than 80,000 jobs in this industry were created in 2016.