Thursday, June 05, 2008

Valencia Tourist Numbers Continue to Rise

In the first quarter of 2008, 1.6 million international tourists visited the Region of Valencia, according to the Encuesta de Movimientos Turísticos en Frontera (FRONTUR) survey of inbound tourist movements. This figure represents an 8.7% increase on the same period of the previous year, putting the Region of Valencia above the average growth figure registered for Spain as a whole (3.3%).

The survey reveals that in the first four months of the year, a total of 15.2 million international tourists arrived in Spain. The Region of Valencia was one of three regions that registered the highest growth in foreign tourism in comparison with last year, along with Madrid and the Canary Islands, and is now the fourth most visited region in Spain. This positive outcome is largely due to outstanding growth in tourism from the main country of origin, the United Kingdom, which increased 4.4%, as well as from secondary countries of origin, France and Scandinavia mainly, which currently represent 52% of all international visitors to the Region of Valencia.

April, the strongest month

April was the busiest month for destinations in the Region, with an increase of 4.2% in international tourism, a figure that contrasts sharply with the trends observed in other Spanish tourist destinations, where foreign tourism has decreased by 1%. In turn, these figures show that Valencia has been one of the least affected regions by the negative impact of this year's early Easter Break. In total, 483,000 tourists visited the Region of Valencia in April, 43.6% from the United Kingdom and 16% from France. These figures denote an increase in the number of visitors from these countries in comparison with April 2007: the British market has grown 1.2% and the French market has increased 17.4%. There was also a significant increase in visits from Italian and Scandinavian tourists, with increases of 16% and 54.9%, respectively. In April 2008, 4.7 million tourists arrived in Spain, 1% less than the previous year. However, when comparing the figures for March and April 2008 with the same two-month period the previous year, a 2.9% increase is observed in the influx of international tourists to Spain, which translates into 250,000 more arrivals.

Air travel and hotel accommodation

The vast majority of foreign tourists who visited the Region of Valencia came by plane. According to the survey, in the first quarter of 2008, 81.7% of all arrivals were by air. El Altet Airport, in the province of Alicante, was the main point of arrival for these visitors, accounting for 72% of all visits with a year-on-year increase of 30.9%. Manises Airport in Valencia also experienced growth of 27.1%. As for the rest of the country, close to 12 million tourists travelled to Spain by air in the first four months of 2008, representing a year-on-year increase of 4.9%. Road travel, on the other hand, experienced a decrease of 3.1% in the flow of tourists. In terms of accommodation, foreign tourists tended to opt for hotels, with an increase of 5.8% in comparison to the first quarter of 2007, which has led to a decrease in the figures for accommodation outside hotels. Over 10 million tourists stayed in Spanish hotels, representing 66.5% of the total. As for travel arrangements and organisation, in the period from January to April 2008, most foreign tourists preferred not to go on a package holiday (68%), whereas the remaining 31% did choose this mode. Both options, however, experienced year-on-year growth of 4.1% and 1.5%, respectively.

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