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Spain needs to overcome "sun and beach" tourism development model

July 10, 2018


Abstract : Spain needs to overcome the traditional "sun and beach" tourism development model and shows all the diversity it can offer, according to the secretary general of the Tourism Board of the government, German Porras.

西班牙

MADRID, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Spain needs to overcome the traditional "sun and beach" tourism development model and shows all the diversity it can offer, according to the secretary general of the Tourism Board of the government, German Porras.

In an interview with Xinhua, he explained "The policy and strategy of the government and the industry is to add more value to the Spanish tourist product and diversify it with a development of interior, culture, nature or sports tourism."

"At the same time, decentralizing and deseasonalizing, so that we do not accumulate higher growth in July and August and in the same places," he said.

"From 2013 to 2018, in just five and a half years, we went from receiving 60 million to 82 million international tourists, which means, at times, a double-digit growth", he said.

"This could be unsustainable because it means that we have grown by 40 percent in that five-year period, and therefore, it puts big pressure on infrastructures, tourism facilities, people training for tourist services, etc.", he added.

Porras highlighted the importance of the tourism sector as it accounts for 13 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and returns almost two euros for each euro that Spain invests in this sector.

"This year we will see a much more moderate growth. So far, the number of arrivals have increased by 2 percent and the amount of money spent has been growing by 4 percent. This is a much more sustainable and more appropriate trend for Spanish tourism policy and strategy," he said.

Spain was the second most visited country in the world in 2017 with 82.2 million arrivals, it was only surpassed by France with 89.9 million and ranks first in the Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum with a score of 5.4.

Given the importance of this sector for the economy, Porras revealed that the country will continue investing in the main areas to attract visitors: good hotel offer, infrastructure, security, health system and transport network.

He also pointed out security as a priority, due to the impact of the jihadist attacks in Barcelona (east of Spain) on tourism last August, where 15 people died.

"Security is an increasingly essential issue because we have all seen that there is a global terrorist threat that can affect any destination" he said, adding that security becomes a key element when people choose the place where they want to travel.

However, he said it should not be forgotten that Spain will receive 30.4 million visitors this summer, partly attracted by beaches, gastronomy, and weather of the country.

"In the last two years, the Spanish tourism sector has invested more than 1.4 billion euros (1.6 billion US dollars) only in the hotel sector, which means that more than 176 Spanish hotels are either new or have been completely renewed. This is the path for Spanish tourism," Porras noted. (1 euro=1.18 billion euros)


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