Published on : Saturday, October 21, 2017
August’s terror attacks in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils, which left 16 people dead, scarcely dented tourist numbers, but images of police violence and huge rallies around the 1 October vote on independence are taking their toll.
The friction between Catalan and Spanish governments following the vote is no way fusing out and is rising to Spain’s biggest political crisis for 40 years. Thousands of people have taken it to the road for protesting both for and against the independence.
José Luis Zoreda, vice-president of the tourist association Exceltur, said tourist activity in Catalonia had fallen by 15% in the weeks following the referendum compared to the same period last year.
Last year, more than 18 million visitors came to Catalonia. 12% of the region’s GDP is based on the travel industry. In its statement, the Spanish government reiterated its claims that the recent push for Catalan independence was damaging the economy, criticising the regional authorities for “deliberately and systematically seeking institutional confrontation, despite the serious damage it’s causing to coexistence and Catalonia’s economy”.
With the crisis beginning to rise up, Spain downgraded its economic forecast for 2018. The situation seems very much worrying for the travel industry experts. The hoteliers have also seen a drop in the reservation figures. The online holiday lettings platform Airbnb did not offer any figures but HomeAway said it had not had a significant number of cancellations.