Tuesday 26 September 2017

Irish and Spanish tourism sectors shrug off EU-wide slump

Spain is by far the most popular destination for European tourists, with 5.4pc of all trips made by EU citizens heading to the country, according to official statistics from Eurostat. Photo: Getty Images
Spain is by far the most popular destination for European tourists, with 5.4pc of all trips made by EU citizens heading to the country, according to official statistics from Eurostat. Photo: Getty Images

Sean Duffy

Irish and Spanish hotels are bucking a post-Brexit and terror-related slump across the European Union, new figures show.

Terror attacks in countries including France, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have made holidaymakers increasingly cautious, with Spain in particular benefiting from increased tourist numbers.

While hotels on the continent have seen revenues decline in the wake of the UK vote, both the Irish and Spanish hotel sectors have expanded by almost 10pc in the past year due to room revenue rate increases of 7.5pc and 10pc respectively.

Spain is by far the most popular destination for European tourists, with 5.4pc of all trips made by EU citizens heading to the country, according to official statistics from Eurostat.

The data underline the vital importance of the tourism industry to the Spanish economy.

After years of recession, Spain's economy has finally emerged into a period of steady growth, and the recovery in tourism has been flagged as a key reason.

One in five trips made by Irish and UK residents was to Spain. The country has welcomed more than 42 million tourists in the first seven months of 2016, a rise of 11pc.

While foreign tourists are vital to the economy, the number of Spanish tourists taking staycations also plays a crucial role in the country's tourism sector - 84.9pc of all trips made by Spaniards in 2014 were made inside the country.

The typical holiday in Spain lasts 4.5 days with an average spend of €33 per day. France was the most popular destination for Spaniards, with 1.7pc of trips being spent in the neighbouring country. The proximity to North Africa is also attractive to Spanish tourists, with Morocco the second most popular destination.

And 1.3pc of Spaniards went to Italy, the third most popular location.

Irish people are much more inclined to holiday abroad, with just 26.7pc holidaying at home.

Irish people clearly value Spain's sunny climate, with 18.6pc of outbound trips heading to that country. Irish people are also likely to spend more time and money abroad than their Spanish counterparts, with the average stay in Spain taking in 9.5 nights. Irish people also spend an average of €92 per day while in Spain.

The UK is the second most popular destination for Irish tourists, with 13.5pc of all trips going across the Irish Sea. Trips to the UK tend to be shorter, with the average Irish traveller spending just over four nights there. But the average spend was higher - €105 a day. The US was the third most popular destination for Irish holidaymakers, with 8.1pc of all outbound trips heading Stateside.

The distance and flight time involved mean that Irish people typically plan a long holiday when heading the US, with the average length of trips coming in at just under two weeks.

The average stay in Ireland was just 2.8 nights, with visitors spending an average of €74 here per day. A recent report from Fáilte Ireland emphasised the recovery which has occurred in Irish tourism in recent years.

Two-thirds of businesses said that they had seen an increase in overseas visitors this year, while 57pc of golf clubs had an increase in foreign visitors.

Many of the respondents to the Fáilte Ireland survey stated that tourist numbers this year were higher than at any point during the past ten years.

They cited an increase in the number of US and German tourists as a major reason for the growth.

Irish Independent

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