Remarkable tourist figures put Murcia at five-year high
45.5% more foreign tourists visited the Spanish region of Murcia in the first five months of 2014 compared to the same period last year. This is the highest official figure since 2009 and British visitors account for almost half.
Chris Mercer, Director of estate agent Mercers which has been established in Murcia 20 years, says, ‚ÄúAs a region, Murcia is not a big-hitter in tourism terms, dwarfed by the likes of Catalunya and the Balearics in sheer volume, but there are encouraging signs that it could be moving up through the ranks. The fact is Murcia and the Costa Calida have been rather unknown, even among Spaniards, but with talk of the Paramount Theme Park and general increased publicity, awareness is being raised. It has attractive villages, a beautiful coastline, historic cities such as Cartagena, Lorca and the capital Murcia, and one of the best year-round climates in Spain. It‚Äôs also far more affordable thanks to its rather inconspicuous nature.‚Äù
According to Frontur, Spain‚Äôs Institute of Tourism Studies, a total of 266,311 foreign tourists visited Murcia between January and May this year, 83,220 more than the same five months in 2013 ‚Äì a 45.5% increase. The UK is the main source country contributing 49.2% of the total - a huge 57% increase over 2013. French visitors come in second place with an 11.7% share, up 15.7% on last year. In third are the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, with a 10.6% share, again up a significant 48.7% over 2013.
Taking May in isolation, the increase of foreign visitors to the Region was even more incredible at 60%, far higher than Spain‚Äôs main tourist hotspots with the Canaries only receiving 12.9% more, Catalunya 2.3% and the Balearics 1.2%.
Expenditure is also up with foreign visitors splurging 259.5 million euros in Murcia from January to May, up 38.8% on the same period in 2013. This is far higher than the national average increase of 9.1%. Brits make up 47% of the spending, with many of them owning second homes in the Region.
Spain, as a whole, has recorded 21,435,167 international tourists for the first five months of 2014, up 8.2% on 2013, with the nation braced for yet another record-breaking year for tourism.