Catalonia tourism drops by 15 percent since a contested independence referendum

Published on : Tuesday, October 24, 2017

indexTourism in Catalonia, Spain’s most visited region, has dropped by around 15 percent since a contested independence referendum on October 1 that was marred by violence.


The Catalan tourism sector suffered a drop in activity during the first two weeks of October “of around 15 percent” compared to the same period last year, Jose Luis Zoreda, vice president of the Exceltur trade association, said in a news conference.


Hotel and transportation reservations through the end of the year are also down by around 20 percent over the same time last year.


Due to these drops, there’s a loss in business of nearly 1.2 billion Euros ($1.4 billion) for the Catalan tourism sector.

The impact on the tourism sector is stronger than that of the jihadist attacks in August in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils that killed 16 people, which caused a drop the sector’s turnover of around five percent.


Zoreda said, “If the scenario of volatility and confrontations worsens in the coming months, the drop in tourism activity could reach up to 30 percent.”


The drop in activity would affect employment since the sector employs around 405,000 people in Catalonia, he added.


Catalonia, with its capital Barcelona and Costa Brava beaches, is the Spanish region that attracts foreign visitors more than any other region. More than 18 million visitors went in 2016, or a quarter of all foreigners who came to Spain.


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