Forgotten Madrid suffers tourism slump
MADRID (AFP) - Madrid is known for its nightlife and world-class museums but the Spanish capital is suffering a slump in visitors which officials blame on a loss of flights to the city and weak promotion.
The number of foreign visitors to Madrid in August plunged 22 percent over last year to 290,494, bringing the total during the first eight months of the year to 2.76 million, a 7.7 percent drop on the year before.
But while visitors shunned Madrid, international arrivals in Spain overall were up 4.5 percent for January through August as political unrest in other sunshine destinations popular with northern Europeans such as Egypt and Turkey boosted business at its beach resorts.
"Madrid has not failed because suddenly it stopped being attractive, it has failed because people have a hard time coming due to a lack of connectivity and there is little promotion. We have not spent the amount that we need to," said the president of the Madrid Confederation of Commerce, Hilario Alfaro.