People wave Spanish, Catalan (known as Senyera) and European Union flags during a demonstration in favor of a unified Spain a day before the banned October 1 independence referendum, in Barcelona, Spain, September 30, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS/SUSANA VERA)
The unrest caused by the Catalan referendum for independence on October 1 and Catalonia’s subsequent declaration of independence, has kept Israel tourists to the region at bay, according to data released Monday by tourism price comparison site Travelist.
This October saw a sharp drop in the number of Israelis traveling to Barcelona, according to Travelist’s findings. The Israeli company recorded a 36% drop in Israeli searches for holidays in Barcelona, and a 23% drop in the numbers of vacations in the Catalan capital booked by Israelis, in comparison to last year’s numbers for the same time of year.
Travelist also found that Barcelona’s popularity has dropped from 4th place this time last year to 8th place this year.
Exploring which cities are serving as alternative destinations to Barcelona, Travelist found that Bucharest had climbed to first place in its ranking of popular destinations, climbing up from 5th place during this same period last year.
London has also gained popularity, according to this research, rising from 6th place last year to 4th place this year.
Tamar Gerzon, CEO of Travelist said, “From the data, we can learn that the Israeli passengers are following the demonstrations in Barcelona and take no risks. From our review, we saw a 36% drop in vacations in Barcelona compared with last year.
“One can also see that the capital of Catalonia, which is known as one of the most popular destinations among Israelis, fell in its popularity ranking from 4th to 8th place this year, compared with the same period last year,” she said.
On Sunday, dozens of demonstrators wrapped in Spanish flags were seen making Nazi salutes and clashing with police as they protested in Barcelona with hundreds of thousands of people who are against Catalonia’s independence.
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