Catalonia tourism falls 15% since vote violence

Barcelona, Spain, tourism, travel, independence, Catalonia, fall, visitors, economy, city break, safe, shopping, terror

Barcelona suffers more from independence drive than terror attacks
The push for Catalan independence from Spain has hit tourist numbers far harder than the terror attacks in and around Barcelona in August.
Those attacks hardly dented visitor numbers, but the images of police violence and independence demonstrations have resulted in a 15% fall in tourism to Catalonia in the two weeks since the region’s controversial referendum, say travel industry experts.
Since the referendum on October 1, the region’s GDP forecast has been revised down and 700 companies have moved their headquarters out of Catalonia, including several large banks.
The vote has led to Spain’s biggest political crisis for 40 years and there is no sign that tensions are easing between the Catalan and Spanish governments. The Spanish government says it will suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule from Madrid.
About 18 million people visited Catalonia last year, and tourism makes up 12% of the region’s GDP. A decline of 20% would represent a loss of around €1.1 billion.
Bookings are “in freefall of around 20% for the last quarter of 2017, especially in Barcelona, in what is normally the high season for conferences, leisure and shopping tourism”, said José Luis Zoreda, vice-president of the tourist association Exceltur.
The Guardian


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