Homage to Catalonia

By | Category: Travel destinations


“Catalonia is establishing itself as a leading tourist destination in Europe and in the world”. That was the statement from a government minister. To most of us this smacks of the “bloomin’ obvious!”

Spain is often seen as a bellwether guide to how confident the British and Irish holidaymaker is. Spain, being our most popular destination, attracts more or fewer of us depending on how confident we feel. Last year we must have felt pretty happy with life.

The UK was the second largest group of visitors to Catalonia in 2013 apart from the French and they only have to drive across a border! 1,685,324 of us went there spending nearly €1.2 million.  Overall, 15.6 million overseas visitors went there last year which was up by over a million over the previous year and 25% of all those who travelled to Spain choose to travel to Catalonia. Given that Spain includes the Canary Islands and the Balearics not to mention Malaga and Alicante, this is a considerable achievement over other parts of the country. In fact foreigners visiting the area were more than double the domestic holiday visitors so it is any wonder that the Catalans promote so much to the British and Irish market.

The government says that the reason we have returned in numbers is because the pound now buys more than it did a few years ago when the pound slumped against the euro. Whilst this is a part of the argument the economic downturn made Spanish suppliers look at what they offered holidaymakers. Tired attractions and older accommodations suddenly underwent makeovers. More was provided  to attract holidaymakers so that it could compete with countries like Turkey.

So the exchange rate helped as did a confidence that economic recovery was underway. But we go, in the main, because of the beaches and the sunshine but Barcelona is a big attraction for short breaks and hen and stag parties. At Calella, they have a destination that attracts both beachgoers as well as heritage and envornment visitors.

The minister is wrong. Catalonia has been one of the leading destinations for us for decades. What’s different now is that those involved in tourism are offering us a better product and that is why we are returning.


For more on Catalonia, click here.

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