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Spain received a record 65 million visits from foreign tourists in 2014, nearly a quarter of them British, the government said Thursday in a fresh boost for the country’s recovering economy.


The overall number of visits by foreign tourists to Spain was the highest on record and rose by 4.3 million, or more than seven percent compared with 2013, the tourism ministry said.

Neighbouring Portugal also reported a welcome surge in tourist visits and revenues.

Just over 15 million of the international tourist arrivals in Spain recorded last year were from Britain — about 23 percent — according to the ministry’s annual figures.

France meanwhile overtook Germany as the second biggest source of foreign visitors to Spain.

More than 10.6 million visits were made by French tourists and 10.4 million by Germans. The Nordic countries were in fourth place with five million visitors, 3.5 percent more than in 2013.

Spain’s sunny beaches and historic cities make tourism one of its economic strengths.

Last year “was the best year in the history of tourism in our country”, industry and tourism minister Jose Manuel Soria told a news conference on Thursday.

“This sector serves as an engine of the economy.”

The region most visited by foreign tourists was Catalonia in the north east, followed by the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, home to clubbing hotspots such as Ibiza.

Spain climbed out of recession in 2013 after five years of economic crisis that destroyed millions of jobs.

The government estimates Spain’s economy grew 1.4 percent last year.

THERE were positive results for Spanish tourism as 2014 closed with a 2.9 per cent increase in people taking holidays in the country.


In total, 65 million foreigners visited Spain the last year, 7.1 per cent more than in 2013, bringing in €49 billion, a 3.9 per cent increase in revenue compared with the previous year.

The tourism industry proved one of the main sources of employment in 2014, creating more than 53,213 jobs and at the same time boosting the performance of related sectors, such as commerce and construction, through the renovation of tourist areas, according to Exceltur.

However, the average amount of money a tourist spends during a trip has decreased by 3 per cent.

In 2014, each foreign visitor generated a real benefit of €754, a figure much lower than the €1,116 generated 14 years ago.

One reason for this decrease, according to Exceltur, is that many visitors stay in unlicensed accommodation, with an average daily cost of €67, while authorised homes or hotels cost an average of €114 per day.

In addition, many tourists arrive in the country through low-cost airlines and by car, which amounts to a daily benefit of €74 and €56 respectively, while tourists who choose traditional airlines leave a benefit of more than €100.

IT was a record breaking year for Malaga-Costa del Sol airport as 13.7 million passengers used it in 2014. Spain’s Minister of Development, Ana Pastor, inaugurated the new commercial area of Málaga airport today, which included the opening of the biggest airport Gap store opened in partnership with Dufry Group (see story here).


That was 6.7 per cent more than in the previous year revealed Minister Pastor. Speaking at the opening of a new shopping centre at the airport she said that 12 new routes are planned on top of the 126 destinations offered last year.

Málaga-Costa del Sol airport is the fourth largest in the Aena network in terms of passenger volume. In 2014, the airport surpassed 13.7m passengers. Operations grew by 5.8% compared with the previous year to reach 108,000.

Pastor added that Malaga-Costa del Sol has been reaffirmed this year as the fourth largest airport in the Aena network by passenger volume.

A €2m investment programme saw the commercial area at the airport expand by 3,000sq m to 13,000sq m — a 21% increase. The commercial area now has a total of 55 retail establishments.

Speaking about access roads, the minister explained that the southern access has been open for almost a year and a project to create another access to the north has been approved.

Works by Kandinsky, Chagall and Malevich are due to travel from Russia to Spain for the opening of Malaga’s State Russian Museum this March. The first European branch of the St Petersburg institution is due to be housed in a former tobacco factory in the southern Spanish city.


The inaugural display, “Russian Art of the XV-XX centuries”, traces a path of the country’s art history through 100 works, beginning with Russian icons from the end of the Middle Ages to Modernism and concluding with Soviet Realism. The director of the Russian State Museum, Vladimir Gusev, told el Diario Sur in an interview: “we want to break the stereotypes of Russian art”.

The presentation of works from the permanent collection is accompanied by a temporary exhibition dedicated to Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929), the Russian impresario behind the Ballets Russes who collaborated with avant-garde artists such as Picasso and Matisse. “Russian Art from the Age of Diaghilev” will include over 60 works, from paintings to stage designs, run from March until September, Diario Sur reports. This will be followed by an exhibition on Pavel Filonov (1883-1941), an eccentric avant-garde artist and a fervent supporter of the Russian Revolution of 1917. The city of Malaga will invest over €900,000 in the co-ordination and transportation of these three displays, the newspaper reports.

The exact opening date has not been announced but the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, told local press it will depend “on the schedule of the Spanish and Russian personalities attending the inauguration”, which could include Spanish and foreign government officials. Malaga is witnessing a museum boom with the new Pompidou Malaga space also expected to open in March.

The cranes are on the move once again in Spain, as the construction sector finally picks up its tools following a seven year pause. October 2014 saw the sector register a 13.9% increase in activity compared with a year earlier, according to Eurostat, while financial advisors Arcano have pegged real estate and construction as two of the driving forces behind the Spanish economy in 2015.

Only the biggest and the best in the sector carried on building through the downturn, as Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director for leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, explains,

“The past few years certainly haven’t been easy for Spain’s construction and real estate sectors. Many developments were simply left mid-construction when the hard times hit and it has taken until now for a lot of companies to have both the confidence and the financing to begin building once more.”

Taylor Wimpey España, which is the Spanish arm of FTSE 100 listed homebuilder Taylor Wimpey, continued building throughout the crisis years and was rewarded with strong sales figures as a result. While domestic demand may have dwindled, many overseas buyers remained keen to pick up second homes in Spain and the company found that its signature blend of beach access, pools and high end properties was the perfect combination to meet the needs of those looking to buy.

“It really felt like we were the only ones still building at some points,” continues Pritchard. “So it was great to see the sector picking up again late last year. I think 2015 should see it come surging back to something like its former glory as there’s pent up demand for new properties. This year should definitely mark a turning point for the Spanish construction and real estate industries.”

A recent report from independent financial advisors Arcano supports Taylor Wimpey España’s thinking, highlighting real estate and construction as two of the most significant engines of economic growth in Spain in 2015. The company has predicted a resurgence of both house prices and residential building in Spain this year, driven by improved financing and mortgage options, foreign investment and recovering domestic demand.

Taylor Wimpey España is certainly expecting big things during 2015. Its Miraval development, which offers a rare opportunity to purchase a high end apartment near the fantastic La Cala Golf Resort at Mijas Costa (on the Costa del Sol) is tipped to be one of the most popular this year, with seven of the 27 units having sold already. The apartments enjoy large terraces (gardens on the ground floor), golf and sea views and a southerly orientation. Prices start at €245,000 and completion and handover is scheduled for October 2016.

Over on the Costa Blanca, key ready properties are available at Las Brisas de Alenda Golf, in sight of the spectacular Sierra de las Aguilas mountains. Select properties enjoy direct access to the stunning Alenda Golf Course, while the beach is just 15 minutes away. As with all Taylor Wimpey España sits, pretty gardens and a communal pool complete the offering. Prices for a three bedroom/two bathroom home are from €145,000.

With both construction activity and house prices on the up, no doubt many buyers will see early 2015 as the optimum time to buy their dream property in Spain, while bargains like these still abound.

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.