Little Impact of Politics on Catalonia Tourism

Little Impact of Politics on Catalonia TourismLittle Impact of Politics on Catalonia Tourism

With images of police violence and thousands on the streets protesting for and against its controversial independence referendum, one would have expected Catalonia's tourism to suffer a major hit. Despite the political instability, David Miro, Asia-Pacific director of the Catalan Tourist Board, assured there is "nothing major to be worried about" and "it's not as bad as it looks" because all tourism infrastructure and services are functioning normally and are not affecting tourists, Straits Times reported.

One of the wealthiest and most-visited regions in Spain, Catalonia's planned independence push was to be held on Oct. 1, but was met with opposition from the Spanish government.

According to reports, industry experts said tourism to Catalonia, which has its own language, laws and customs and includes capital Barcelona and the beaches of Costa Brava, slumped by 15% in the two weeks following the referendum violence. But Miro stressed that tourism has improved. According to Catalan Tourist Board statistics, no decrease in international tourist arrivals has been recorded.

Miro recounted how in 2011, there were only 400,000 Asia-Pacific tourists travelling there. Now, it sees roughly two million.

This year alone, Costa Brava attracted more than 4.3 million tourists, a 7-8% increase from last year.

Miro said that although tourism suffered a minor hit from the August terror attack in Barcelona, he was surprised that "within two weeks, everything was back to normal".

Flight bookings returned to the same level as before, with "no major cancellations" from all top airlines.

If there are any further demonstrations, the Catalan Tourist Board has put security measures in place such that affected guided tours will be re-routed accordingly.

"It has been safe so far and hopefully it will continue to be safe," Miro said.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints