In its quarterly report on foreign tourism, the national tourism promotion agency Turespaña says that a slowdown in the level of tourism from certain countries is due to be consolidated in the third quarter of the year. Given that these same markets have shown a slowdown in previous months, Turespaña concedes that there is a changing trend as far as the number of tourists and overnight stays are concerned.
However, tourist spending remains reasonably positive, even for those markets registering declines in the number of tourists and overnight stays. Although increased expenditure can be partly explained by higher prices, in particular transport because of the increased cost of fuel, Turespaña suggests that there has not been a general rise in prices which explains the overall higher spending figures. The agency therefore believes that there is evidence of the success of policies aimed at attracting tourists with higher spending power and at, for example, increasing the amount of city tourism.
For the third quarter, the UK is one of two markets forecast to decrease. Switzerland is the other, and Switzerland is also forecast to have a negative rate of spending. There are notable increases in certain markets, such as the US with 9.9% growth, topped only by Portugal with ten per cent. The third quarter predictions are for 2.4% more tourists, a 1.1% rise in overnight stays and a 5.3% increase in tourist spending.
Two of Spain's main markets, the UK and France, have been showing signs of change for several quarters. The German market, which has remained stable in terms of tourist numbers, is now spending less and staying for shorter periods. To compensate there is growth in markets such as the American, Dutch and Italian. For the whole year, Turespaña believes that there may still be moderate growth, though zero or negative growth cannot be ruled out.
Overall, however, the 2018 figures will be very good, just not as good as the past couple of years when all records were being broken.
Other figures, these from the National Statistics Institute, show a 2.4% decrease in hotel occupancy in July, the first fall for several years. The Balearics, with 89.5% occupancy, topped the national league, but this was down by 1.2% compared with July 2017.