Spain's tourism sector is increasingly aware of the importance of international tourists who are visiting the country to make good and profitable shopping. The purchases made in Spain by tourists, citizens of countries outside the EU, consist an amount from 1.500 to 2.000 million euros per year, and what is more important is that this figure could double in the coming years. Therefore, the Spanish tourist industry has chosen to attract more such kind of visitors. Across Europe, the sales reach an amount of 50,000 million euros, and this figure rises to 125,000 million euros in the case of total sales to non-European tourists.
Luis Lorca, the director of consult company Global Blue in Spain, said that "Spain has a good position as a tourist destination in general, but not in the commercial segment, which really adds additional value. France, Italy and the UK have cities which are the shopping centers for international travelers, and Spain is still trying to position Madrid and Barcelona, as cities for shopping. ''
Moreover, in addition to this description of low popularity of Spain for shopping tourism, Lorca proposes several ideas to improve the situation. "We have to increase air connections between Spain and Asia in order to attract tourists from this part of the world, as they spend more money on their purchases while traveling. It is necessary to take into account the fact that half of Chinese citizens who come to Spain, do it with a Schengen visa issued by other European country, or visit Spain across other European country, and then leave the old continent also through it. Nor should we forget the fact that such a small central European country as Austria, for example, has direct air connections with China thanks to companies such as Austrian Airlines ".
And along with the increased frequency of direct air links between Asia and America with Spain, another requirement would be more facilities in obtaining of Schengen visas. The head of Global Blue in Spain believes that "China is a big country, and the introduction of biometric passports will require much extra movement of hundreds of kilometers to the nearest consulate in order to process these special documents."
Finally, Luis Lorca indicates that it is necessary the reorientation of Spanish tourism policies to changing the country's position as the destination of beach tourism towards attracting tourists who want to shop, since the perception of International tourists of Spain as a place for shopping, still needs considerable improvements. The main proof of need of these changes is the data provided by the company Global Blue about tax free shopping of international visitors to Spain. These date confirm that in Spain the sale of goods to foreign tourists increased by 36% in the last 12 months and the first five nationalities are China (+ 90%), Russia (-25%), Morocco (+ 38%), United States (+ 58%) and Argentina (+ 84%).
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