For the second consecutive time in the last two years, doubts have been cast over the Tourism Industry of Spain which, at one time, was taking a quarter of European Tourism Industry’s earnings. The industry that contributes over ten percent to Spain’s economy and employs over two million people has been on a downfall since 2007.
From the figures released recently, the number of tourists visiting Spain in 2009 has decreased by over 5 million, from 57.3 million to 52 million tourists, a drop of 8.7 percent in total foreign visitors causing a loss of 4 billion Euros. The only respite was the drop being less than 10 percent as predicted by the experts.
Granada’s Alhambra was found out to be most popular amongst tourists, visited by approximately 3 million people, followed by Madrid’s El Prado art gallery and the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona.
Economic crisis in the countries – Britain (contributing to half of Spain’s tourism revenue) and France and Germany (together contributing to the remaining half), has been cited as one of the important reasons for the collapse. Stiff competition from other countries unaffected by the economic crisis like Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt was cited as another possibility.
Declaring the steep downfall in tourism industry of Spain as an isolated case, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Joan Mesquida, attributed it to general trend in tourism industry worldwide.