Spain has suffered a drop in tourists visiting the country in July for the first time in nine years, according to official figures.
The number of tourists fell by 4.9 per cent, while prior to this the numbers only grew by 0.3 per cent, representing an eight-year low. Spain experienced double-digit growth in both 2017 and 2016, so this is worrying news for a country that relies on tourism for 11 per cent of its economic output.
The growth in cheap, all inclusive package holidays from Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt has been one of the factors in the decline of visitor numbers, with a recent study finding that some of these package holidays can be up to 73 per cent cheaper than those offered to German and British tourists in the Spanish resorts of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.
Another factor affecting visitor numbers has been the attempts of Spanish hotel operators to upgrade their offerings in response to a spike in visitors in previous years, which led them to try to target high-spending tourists instead of holidaymakers opting for cheaper all-inclusive package holidays. This has been reflected in the average spend of tourists, which was up 9.5 per cent in July, despite the total amount spent by tourists having declined by 0.9 per cent in the month of July.
According to Reuters, hoteliers and tourist officers said that they are cutting back prices in an attempt to lure back visitors to the country.