Travel to Spain suffering

It really is a shame: summer travel to Spain is off 6.1 percent this year, as the global economic decline is making the decision to travel tougher for everyone. The country’s Tourism Ministry puts the number of July arrivals at just over 6.6 million. For the entire year (through the end of July), arrivals fell 10.3 percent to 30.2 million visitors. This follows a record 33.6 million for the same period in 2008.

Spain has historically been one of the world’s top three tourist destination in terms of both the number of people arriving and income earned from them; France and the United States are the other two. So, a substantial year-over-year decline is likely to be felt.

Every part of Spain saw arrivals fell except Madrid, where arrivals increased by 6.6 percent. Andalucia saw visits drop by 11 percent, though Valencia had an easier time. Of the regions with falling arrivals, it had the lowest at only 0.4 percent.

Most of Spain’s tourist traffic came from Britain, which sent 1.6 million visitors to the country. France is second, overtaking Germany this year. British share of travel to Spain, 24.5 percent, fell 16.1 percent this year because of economic conditions. Meanwhile, French tourism to Spain increased this year, with visits to Valencia surging 35 percent and Madrid up 23.4 percent.