The economic crisis in Russia whose currency, the rouble, has fallen against the euro by 100 per cent in the last year has had a knock-on effect. The number of Russian tourists to Spain has fallen but the average spend of those who come has risen.
So says a study carried out by Turespaña whose director, Marta Blanco, attended a conference held by the Centro de Iniciativas Turísticas (CIT) in Marbella on Tuesday.
Blanco, who outlined last year’s tourist figures and predictions for this year, revealed that in spite of a marked fall in visitor numbers from Russia last year the average spend of those who did come had risen.
“This is the good news”, said Blanco, “because it means that the Russians who visit are happy to spend well in Spain”.
Blanco also referred to the Arab countries, another key market for Marbella and which constitute a priority for Turespaña because of their high spending power. She insisted that investment to position Spain as a quality destination for the Gulf States “is going to bear fruit very soon”, adding that she appointed a tourist chief in Dubai recently.
Blanco explained that while it was early to talk about tourist levels in 2015 January’s visitor numbers were three per cent higher than those of the same time last year.
“Spain is a leader in terms of tourism. It is the third most popular country in the world in terms of visitors and the second in terms of money spent by holidaymakers”, said Blanco.
She also pointed out that Spain’s tourism industry needs to diversify. While the UK, France and Germany make up 55 per cent of visitor numbers to Spain it is the United States, Latin America, Japan, Canada, China and Russia whose tourists spend the most: markets where there is still plenty of room for growth.
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