Spain's hoteliers want tourism to be a Brexit negotiations' priority. | Miquel A. Cañellas


Spain's hoteliers are urging the government to adopt an active role in the Brexit negotiations, stressing the importance of British tourism. Spain receives some 18 million British tourists a year.

The president of Cehat, the national confederation of hoteliers, wants the Brexit activation and governmental relations to result in the best for all citizens. Juan Molas doesn't want "political declarations" muddying the excellent and longstanding relations with the British people.

The UK is at present the largest tourism market for Spain. Around 40% of UK tourists who travel abroad come to Spain. Last year, this meant 23.2 million airline seats were booked, an increase of almost four million over 2015. The forecast for 2017, if more moderate, nevertheless suggests a further rise of 1.4 million.

Cehat believes that Madrid should ensure that the tourism industry is given priority in the negotiations. Issues of concern include the open skies policy and visas. It also wants promotion this year to be targeted at maintaining what until now has been a very loyal market. In fact, Turespaña has put in place a campaign with Brexit in mind. "SpaininMYheart, Is there a place in your heart for Spain?" will run throughout April and aims to reach one million users.