Skift Take

Spain rampant development followed by a real estate crash made rentals so cheap hotels can not compete.

It has been a successful year so far for Spanish tourism, with the country welcoming a record 34 million international tourists, a 2.9 per cent increase on 2012.

The number coming from Britain rose by 3.4 per cent rise on last year, drawn by a perennially popular mix of beaches, sun and accessible culture.

British tourists made up 23.3 per cent of all international visitors to Spain between January and the end of July 2013, figures released by Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism showed.

The second biggest group of visitors were French (representing 16.1 per cent of all visitors) followed by Germans (15 per cent).

July was also a record month for visitors to Spain, with 7.9 million overseas holidaymakers heading there.

Catalonia, home to the vibrant city of Barcelona, Girona – home to the world’s best restaurant – and the Pyrenees, was the most visited region during that month.

The Balearics followed closely, attracting more than two million visitors in July, with increasing numbers from Germany, Britain, Scandanavia and Russia.

Andalusia, a region associated with sherry, tapas, whitewashed hill towns and beaches, saw the largest rise in international visitors, seeing almost one million tourist arrivals in July, a jump of 8.5 per cent.

Package holidays were ten per cent more popular during July but otherwise showed a decline (1.3 per cent) compared with the same month last year.

More holidaymakers opted to stay in forms of accommodation other than hotels this year, with 40 per cent either opting for rented accommodation, or staying with friends or family, a rise of 4.3 per cent on last year.

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Tags: hotels, spain

Photo Credit: Tourists in Spain are helping boost the country's economy. But their new preference for rentals or friends' houses instead of hotels isn't welcome news for the hospitality sector. John Seb Barber / Flickr