Tourism Down in 2009
It's January, it's cold and it's rainy (yes, it does occasionally rain in Spain), so perhaps now is a good time to dispense with some bad news whilst we're already a little under the weather. The statistics from the Spanish Institute for Tourism Studies for 2009 are in, and they're not great reading: the figures show a significant drop - 8.7% - in the number of tourists visiting Spain in 2009, against those who came in 2008.
Cue panic stations? In fact it's not all bad news. Despite the drop, coinciding with the global recession, the figure of 52 million visitors in 2009 was still the fifth best on record - and thanks to a rise in the number of cash spent by each visitor (how on Earth they calculate that we'll probably never know!) it was in fact the third most profitable year for tourism in Spain's history.
All in all there's the feeling that Spain's tourism has held up reasonably well despite the world's financial problems and Joan Mesquida, Secretary of State for Tourism, has even gone as far as stating that we can approach 2010 with "cautious optimism". Hurrah! Now all we need is for the sun to come out...