The global economic crisis has hit Spain full blast, as the first quarter tourism figures show. According to Exceltur, Spain’s association of tourism companies, the tourism industry has seen a 7 per cent decrease in activity.

Recently published data by the Ministry of Industry prove Exceltur’s statement. According to the Ministry of Interior, in the first quarter this year, a total of 8.9 million foreign tourists visited Spain, down 16.3 percent over the same period in 2008.

Given the data, Exceltur’s president predicted on Tuesday, a 5.6 per cent decrease in tourism GDP for this year.

The figures reveal a drastic downward correction of forecasts made at the beginning of the year. Without a doubt the real test will be in the second and third quarter of this year once the high season starts. Only time will tell what this year’s summer tourism will bring.