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Valencia hit the hardest by Brexit and resurgent competition 

PAGE 20 Valencia hardest  hit

Valencia has notched up an unwanted re-cord after registering the biggest-ever fall of international visitors in the whole of Spain this summer.

Tourism chiefs blame the 6.9 per cent dip on the effects of Brexit and the recovery of other destinations such as Turkey, saying about 15 per cent of visitors over the last few years had been “borrowed” from other countries.

Overall, Spain recorded a decrease of 4.9 per cent in international visitors.

The Confederation of Tourist Businesses of the Valencian community (CET-CV) says hotel occupancy in July and August stood at 80-81 per cent, down four per cent on 2017 although the average room price increased slightly by five per cent.

The total expense of international tourists fell by 3.4 per cent, compared to 0.9 per cent nationally, although the average expense of all nationalities visiting the city increased by 7.8 per cent (the Spanish average being 9.5 per cent).

Valencia was also bottom of the spending list with an average per tourist per day of 103 euros compared to 178 euros (Catalonia) or 241 euros (Madrid).

According to a survey carried out by the Business Federation of Hospitality of Valencia (FEHV), the summer campaign was the same or worse than the previous year for 77 per cent of hoteliers. Only 23 per cent reported improved results.

In relation to the forecasts they had at the beginning of the season, the summer has been worse for 68 per cent of hoteliers, equal (14 per cent) and better for 18 per cent.

Voicing his concerns over tourism spending, president of the CET-CV, Luís Martí said: “We are the community in which international tourism has fallen the most in Spain, with a decrease of 6.9 per cent against the Spanish average of 4.9 per cent.”

Most restaurant owners (58 per cent) said the average bill was around 20 euros.

Despite being at the foot of the Spanish list for average daily spending, the 103 euros for Valencia is still an increase of 7.8 per cent on last year and business leaders believe gastronomic promotions are beginning to work and should be expanded.

However, they want to see new measures to reverse the downward trend, including eliminating seasons to favour all-year-round tourism and attracting visitors with a greater spending power.

President of FEHV, Manuel Espinar said there was nevertheless a big gap between the 103 euros of Valencia and the 241 euros of Madrid so there was “still a long way to go.”

The main emitting markets for Valencia, Spain’s third biggest city, remain the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.