Spain tourism crisis continues amid ‘overcrowding’ fears as holiday arrivals set to soar

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul5,2024

The Spanish tourism crisis is set to continue as the number of holiday arrivals will likely soar over the next four years, new projections show. This comes on top of the discovery that this year marks a full recovery of arrivals from the pandemic.

Arrivals to Spain are projected to reach 92.6 million in 2024 from 85.2 million last year, an increase of 8.7 percent. This year marks a full recovery in arrivals as they rose above the pre-pandemic levels of 83.5 million in 2019, reported BMI.

“Over the medium term (2024-2028), easing inflation and stronger consumer purchasing power in major arrivals source markets will allow increased travel and hospitality spending, supporting Spain’s arrivals growth,” BMI said. 

It added: “We forecast arrivals to Spain will expand to 109.5 million by 2028, which is an annual average growth rate of 5.2 between 2024-2028.”

However, the site did not overlook the challenges that come with the territory: “While we have a positive medium-term outlook for Spain’s arrivals, there is a risk of overtourism.”

They continued: “Already high tourist volumes will increasingly expose tourism infrastructure and services such as accommodation, beaches and historical sites to overcrowding, resource strain, as well as environmental degradation and social disruptions for local residents.” 

They recognised that the upward price pressure of property and rental prices has exposed Spanish consumers to increased housing costs, due to a growing demand for tourist accommodation. There has also been a surge in the conversion of residential property rentals to short-term leisure accommodation

The strain on these key infrastructures has been the focus of over-tourism protests across the country for several months. In April, tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets in the Canary Islands to demand changes to the mass tourism model, holding signs saying “The Canary Islands are not up for sale!” and “Respect my home”. 

Just last week, a huge protest hit the popular seaside city of Malaga, with claims that they are being “overrun” by visitors and feel like “strangers in our own city”.

Another protest is planned for tomorrow in central Barcelona, as part of the campaign “Enough! Let’s put limits on tourism”.

According to BMI, Spain’s key source markets for arrivals include the UK, which will rank as the country’s largest driver of arrivals in 2024, with a projected 19.0 million arrivals (or 20.5 percent of total arrivals). 

France will be the second largest at a projected 13.2 million arrivals (14.2 percent), followed by Germany with a projected 11.5 million (12.4 percent). This is in line with the pre-pandemic trend, the site said. 

By 2028, BMI predicted that these three will remain the top major source markets for arrivals, increasing to 22.2 million, 15.4 million and 13.5 million respectively. 

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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