STAFF REPORTER MADRID

TOURISM in the Balearic and Canary Islands was the worst affected in Spain as a result of the disruptions caused by the Iclelandic volcano in April, Central Government reported yesterday.

Figures from the Tourism ministry showed that the Canaries confirmed a drop of 15.3 percent and the Balearics a downturn of 11.9 percent in their visitor numbers for the time of year. At a national level, tourism in Spain last month was down by 13.3 percent because of flights being cancelled after the eruption of the volcano which threw dense clouds of ash into the atmosphere, making air space unsafe.

Data recording visitor numbers to Spain since the beginning of the year show that they are down by 4.3 percent in comparison with the same period last year. The research also showed that it was the key client countries of the United Kingdom and Germany which were worst affected.

Some 800'000 people from the UK came to Spain in April this year, 27.7 percent less than in 2009. Visitors from Germany during the same month were down 21.4 percent in comparison with a year ago.

Visitors from the United States however, were not so affected by the ash cloud and tourist numbers to Spain from the USA were up by an encouraging 4.8 percent.