Tourists reject Madrid

MadridMadrid suffered a drop in tourists this summer, while other parts of Spain saw numbers rise.

In August, 22% fewer visitors arrived in the capital compared to 2012.

Madrid’s hoteliers felt the pinch, with only a 47.5% occupancy rate in August. The four-star Foxa hotel chain went bankrupt in June. Restaurants also suffered.

The rest of the nation witnessed a 4.5% increase in numbers for the first eight months of the year, helped by the political unrest in Egypt and Turkey.

For the first time Barcelona Airport became Spain’s busiest airport, overtaking Madrid-Barajas.

Airlines cut back on services to Madrid after airport taxes were doubled. Ryanair cut out 272 weekly flights and easyJet reduced its seat capacity by 20% this year. Iberia Airlines cancelled dozens of routes.

Fearing that Madrid has not developed a strong image to attract more visitors, the city’s mayor announced plans to promote the city in various countries, including the UK, the US, Russia and China.

The “shock plan” is expected to cost three million euros over three months.

A new low-cost airline based at Madrid airport is also being planned.

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