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The “sun and beach” label that has made Spain one of the most popular destinations for international tourism for decades may now turn against it. And all thanks to the work and elegance of the thermometer. The same warmth that, not so long ago, harmonized so well with beaches and seas terrace The Mediterranean is starting to become an obstacle. As heat waves with extreme temperatures continue in Spain, tourists are losing interest in visiting the country.

The latest industry report by CaixaBank Research shows this clearly: Climate change is playing against Spain when it comes to building the loyalty of its tourists… or, in other words, it has become an unlikely ally for those who warn that it is necessary. set boundaries overtourism.

Return to Spain? Adhere to. Essentially, what CaixaBank technicians did was to answer an important question for hotels and agencies with data on foreign cards and POS usage: What is the probability that a tourist who has been to Spain before will spend his holidays there again?

His conclusion is clear. Although this pattern varies depending on the origins of the visitors or whether they have a home in Spain, in general a significant number choose to return to Spain. But there is one factor that reduces this trend: heat waves. They used records from 2022 and 2023 to show this.

Screenshot 2024 06 20 124944

Click on the image to go to the tweet.

So what does the data say? The propensity for tourists to return to Spain is around 13% when they enjoy temperatures consistent with the historical average, neither too hot nor too cold, during their stay.

However, this percentage decreases if visitors encounter values ​​​​exceeding normal values ​​\u200b\u200by5°C and are “clearly lower” if they exceed the historical average by 8°, and this is already considered an “extreme heatwave”. Tourists also appear to be less willing to return to Spain if they encounter colder-than-normal temperatures during their holidays.

Can you specify more? CaixaBank’s study is interesting because it analyzed differences between nations when the mercury is 8°C above normal levels. To be more precise, its authors looked at 2022 registrations. Their first conclusion is that the propensity of tourists to return to Spain has decreased from 14% to 12.1%, corresponding to a decrease of 13.8%.

Secondly, this decrease in the “return trend” fluctuates significantly depending on the nationality of the tourist. For example, the reaction of American and French tourists seems to be very different.

Is origin that important? Yes, UK tourists ‘propensity to return’ to Spain after suffering a heatwave on holiday increased from 11.2% to 7.4%, a decrease of 3.4%. In the case of Americans, in Spain this relapse trend increased from 8.6% to 5%; this represents a steeper decline of 42.5%.

The situation is different among the French and Portuguese, who are more willing to endure the heat during their holidays in Spain. In the first, the tendency to relapse increases from 15.5% to 14.4%, with a small decrease of 7.4%; in the latter, with very similar data, the decrease is 8.7%.

Is it that important? Yes, and for two reasons. The first is that “repeat” tourists who repeat their holidays in Spain are much more economically interesting. CaixaBank confirmed that, on average, they spend more days in Spain and spend significantly more money.

The business is aware that its figures need to be treated with caution as visitors can use other establishments’ POS or exchange cards, but nevertheless its data provides a telling clue: trips for “repeat” tourists take an average of 3.9 days, with daily costs of 3.9 days. Stop. 80.2 euros; Among the “non-repeaters” stays are slightly shorter, 2.7 days, and the daily cost is 76.3 euros.

Series of anomalies in mean summer temperature in the Spanish peninsula since 1961 (Reference period 1991-2020).

Series of anomalies in mean summer temperature in the Spanish peninsula since 1961 (Reference period 1991-2020).

Are there more factors? There is another basic thing. And if anything has been taken away from recent summers, it’s that heatwaves are not an isolated or momentary event. 2023 was actually the third hottest summer in history. Only 2003 and the previous year, 2022, exceeded this figure.

In its summer balance, AEMET calculated: “Summers were extremely hot in the southern third of the Iberian Peninsula and the western Cantabrian Sea, whereas summers were very hot in the rest of the Spanish peninsula.” The average temperature was 1.3 degrees above average. Four heatwaves were recorded on the peninsula and the Balearic Islands during the season, with temperatures exceeding 45° and reaching almost 47°C.

The agency’s predictions for this summer are not very promising either. In May, AEMET warned that there was a “very high” probability (between 70 and 100 percent) that the season would be warmer than normal in almost the entire country. “The vulnerability of international tourism to heatwaves reveals the sector’s great sensitivity to climate change,” the CaixaBank study concludes. His warning comes at a crucial moment when Spain faces the prospect of adding 90 million foreign tourists and reaching a greater tourist flow than France by 2040 and becoming a major power.

Are these the only clues? No. Last year we told you how it was in the media of other countries such as Sky or Sky. New York Times, They reflect exactly this fact: the impact of rising temperatures, which make the prospect of enjoying a summer holiday in Spain much less attractive.

The European Travel Commission has data showing declining interest in traveling to the Mediterranean among Europeans, accompanied by a trend heading further south in the summer months, according to the agency. Another clue comes from a study by Escapadarural.com, which reflects that a significant percentage of travelers change destinations due to the heat.

Pictures | Mike Smith (Flickr) and Ministry of Ecological Transition

in Xataka | While tourism returns to pre-Covid levels, a new debate is also on the agenda: The “bad tourists” debate

Source: Xatak Android

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