Catalonia Trumps Spanish Tourist Flow Growth

Alina Khorosheva, 06.03.2014 11:41
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During the past year a record-high number of tourists visited Spain’s Catalonia, spending record amounts of money for the region. The total tourist flow amounted to 15.6 million people, who spent 14 billion euro. Being one of the main markets for Catalonia, Russia ranked fifth as to the number of arrivals – 975 thousand people (+31.8% compared to 2012), and second – as to the amount of money spent by tourists (+22.1% compared to 2012). TRN magazine got this information from Catalonia’s Russian tourist office.

We should start by saying that the actual growth of the Russian tourist flow to Catalonia is higher than that projected for 2013’s total tourist flow from Russia to Spain. At the end of 2012 Spanish tourism authorities forecasted the average rise of 25-30%, while the growth by the end of a 9-month period was 28%.

By the way, Catalonia is still the most popular Spanish tourist region among Russians, followed by the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Andalusia.

In 2013, every fourth tourist going to Spain chose Catalonia. Catalonia’s inbound tourism numbers were much higher than the average numbers for the country – they made up 25% of the total number of foreigners who were coming to Spain.

According to the tourism office, Minister of Enterprise and Employment of Catalonia’s autonomous government Felip Puig presented the results for 2013 at the end of January. He said that the department’s foremost objective for the following years will be raising the profitability of the tourism industry by means of encouraging tourists to spend more. Among the markets which had been instrumental in achieving record results he named the USA, Russia and Japan, describing the Russian market as one of the more promising ones.

Catalonia’s secession referendum is slated to take place in November of 2014. If the respective decision goes through, it will undoubtedly affect the region’s travel sphere, although it is not yet clear as to how.

Spain has long been one of the more attractive countries when it came to excursion tourism, with a substantial part of excursions taking place in Catalonia. According to the Excursion Tour Index EDEX, in February there was a 63.34% growth in demand for excursion tours to Spain.

Russian tour operators plan on continuing to develop this destination and promise a lot of new and interesting programs.

Case in point – operator Anex Tour has already sold more than 27% of tours to Spain for the upcoming summer season through special early booking offers. The bookings extend up till the end of July and beginning of August.

Specialist for the Spanish Destination of Anex Tour’s development department Valentin Muskatin told TRN that people mainly booked 4 and 5-star hotels, with Costa Brava and Costa Daurada being the most sought-after coastal areas. February saw the launch of Majorca Island sales. By the way, during the coming summer the company will be organizing direct flights to Spain from 15 cities of Russia, among which are: Moscow, Arkhangelsk, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, St. Petersburg, Tyumen and Ufa.

We have been sending tourists to Spain for the fourth year running, and each season we do everything in our power to make our product more affordable and multifaceted: we add new resorts, expand our flight network, increase the number of guaranteed hotels and organize excursion and city tours in addition to classic seaside holidays. This summer our company will be running the gamut of the flowing Spanish offers: Barcelona, coastal areas Costa Brava and Costa Daurada, islands Tenerife and Majorca. However, right now flights to the islands are available from Moscow only,” said the expert.

Tour operator DSBW is also launching a renewed line of excursion tours to Spain this year. All of the company’s programs have their starting point in Barcelona.

Dmitry Romanov, Head of DSBW’s department for Spain and Andorra, told TRN about the best-selling tour ‘Spanish Classics’, which gives customers the opportunity to visit the main tourist centers of the country – Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Madrid and Zaragoza. During 8 hours tourists will visit the maximum number of the most famous Spanish landmarks. There are two variants of the tour – standard and economy.

TUI will also present new offers this season – for Spain’s southern province, Malaga.

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