Barcelona is the fourth most popular destination for tourists in Europe after London, Paris and Rome according to figures released by the city’s tourist board. The figures also show that numbers grew by .7 per cent in 2012 compared with the previous year.
The 6.8 per cent drop in Spanish visitors was covered by an increase of foreign tourists, especially from Russia and eastern Europe, which were up 32 per cent.
As well as a drop in Spanish visitors, tourists from France and Italy also decreased, an indication of the economic crisis in all three countries.
However Spaniards, totalling 1.62 million people or 21.8 per cent of the total, still account for the largest number of visitors to Barcelona.
It is not possible yet to assess the effect of the tourist tax introduced into Catalonian hotels at the end of 2012. The fee amounts to about €0.75 per night per person (up to a maximum of seven nights).
The funds raised will be reinvested in the industry to finance promotional campaigns that were slashed in the government’s austerity measures last year.