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Spain reports new record arrivals in 2014

The Spanish Ministry of Industry, energy and tourism announced the tourist arrivals figures for 2014. Once again, the destination has broken a record with 64.9 million visitors.

Spain beat its tourist arrivals record. Last year the Spanish government rejoiced over achieving its best score, but 2014 dismissed 2013 from that position. According to the ministry of tourism 64.9 million international visitors entered the country resulting in 4.3 million more than the previous year. It had been fourteen years since Spain had experienced such a strong increase in tourist arrivals from one year to the next (7.1% between 2013 and 2014).

According to the minister of Industry, energy and tourism José Manuel Soria, Spain will remain in third position in the ranking of international tourist destinations, behind France and the United States but ahead of China. Spain has returned to the podium last year after several years of crisis. According to José Manuel Soria, "tourism is undoubtedly one of the key sectors for Spain's economic recovery. It now represents 10.9% of the GDP and 12% of employment in the country."

Growth in international arrivals naturally affects results in the hotel industry. Figures published by MKG Hospitality show that the occupancy rate of Spain's hotels increased by close to 3.3 percentage points (from 64 to 67.2%) between the years 2013 and 2014. The average daily rate excl. VAT also increased by 2.7%, from 73.8 to 75.8 €, resulting in an 8% increase in the Revenue per available room (RevPAR).

Spain takes the bull by the horns

Spain clearly benefited from its price competitiveness and appeal to foreign clientèle within a tense geopolitical and economic context, particularly clientèle from neighboring countries. While the United Kingdom is the first supply market at the destination, with 15 million tourists (+4.7%), France has grown the most: by 11.3% to reach 10.6 million visitors. Germany is next with 10.4 million tourists (+5.7%). In addition, the organization of cultural and athletic events (ex: basketball World Cup and World Sailing Championship) brought a non-negligible volume of additional tourists.

Regarding the French market Elena Valdés del Fresno, director of the Spanish Tourism Bureau in Paris , explains: "French enthusiasm for Spain has grown over the last two years for a couple of reasons: Arab Spring and then the capacity of Spanish destinations to keep this clientèle. At the same time, professionals also returned to Spain, a destination which they consider to be a sure value." It remains to be seen whether or not the growth trend of the last couple of years will continue into 2015.

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