The 2019 data: Tourism falls on the islands: Canary and Balearic Islands suffer Brexit and the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook

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Compared to the record data, the two archipelagoes receive fewer tourists than a year earlier, 4.4% less in the Canary Islands and 1.2% in the Balearic Islands. In addition, tour packages recede in Spain.

Tourists at the Palma de Mallorca airport, in front of a poster of the Thomas Cook gorge.

Spanish tourism, in historical figures, is more peninsular than a year earlier. The country received in 2019 83.7 million visitors who spent a total of 92.278 million euros, according to the latest data released by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

The year on the rise, despite being marked by Brexit and the bankruptcy of sector giant Thomas Cook, does show declines on the islands, both in the Canary Islands and in the Balearic Islands. Both archipilages exceed 13 million international tourists in 2019 (13.6 and 13.1 million respectively), but show falls, 1.2% in the Mediterranean archipelago and 4.4% in the Atlantic. On the contrary, the rest of tourist communities increase their number of visitors: Catalua, 0.8% to 19.3 million; Andaluca, 3.4% up to 12 million; Valencian Community, 3.9% to 9.5 million; and Comunidad de Madrid, 7% to reach 7.6 million visitors, according to the Statistics on Tourist Movements in Borders (Frontur).

In the month of December 2019, the one in these two communities is evident.Baleares has lost 31.9% of its influxin the last month of the year, compared to December 2018, and the Canary Islands 4.4%. Catalua, Andaluca, Valencian Community, Community of Madrid s swell their numbers.

This trend is even clearer when measuring economic value, as shown in the data on the Tourist Expenditure Survey (Egatur). Total spending in the Canary Islands has fallen in line with the decrease in the number of tourists: 1.4%, the most pronounced of the entire national map (the previous year had risen 2%). Expenditure in the Balearic Islands endures and rises 0.8%, but that increase is half that of the previous year, of 1.6%.

Tour packages, down

The total expenditure of international tourism has risen in Spain, but not that oftour packages, which falls 2.1%with respect to 2018. The expenses in tourist packages rose by 4.2% in 2018 and 7.3% in 2017. That path has been broken.

Among the many challenges of the tourism sector is the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, British tour operator dean and the second largest in the world, plunged last September into liquidation. Spain was listed as Thomas Cook’s main market, with a large number of activities in the Balearic and Canary Islands. The Government has agreed on different measures to mitigate the impact of bankruptcy in both communities, with up to 200 million euros for those affected.

The United Kingdom has decoupled from Spain due to the Thomas Cook crisis precisely in the context of Brexit, with clear connotations in tourism. The United Kingdom, however, is leading the number of tourists, 18 million in 2019. The year-on-year decrease of 2.4% does not stand out among those of other European countries, such as Germany (-2.1% ) and France (-1.2%). In 2019, France has surpassed Germany in number of tourists in Spain. The expenditure made by the Germans, in any case, remains higher.

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