Basque Country: almost one million tourists visited it during the first quarter of 2019

The new councillor stands out from events such as the Basketball Final Four held in Vitoria and advocates sustainable tourism directly linked to the commercial sector.

Photo: Kylie Paz
Photo: Kylie Paz

In the first few months of 2019, the Basque Country recorded a further 5.4% increase in the number of tourists who, according to data provided by Councillor Sonia Pérez, have reached the figure of 963,000 visitors. The replacement of Alfredo Retortillo has appeared for the first time in the Basque Parliament to explain the objectives of his new team with new features such as the goal of linking the growth of tourists with the commercial sector that suffers a “process of change” with increasing competition from Internet sales.

Perez has been confident in the ability of the tourism sector to continue to grow and pull local trade as well. Currently, in these two sectors work about 236,000 Basques (25% of employment) and accounts for 17% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to their forecasts, tourism could grow by 4% in GDP in 2030. Perez has not hidden the “dichotomy” between the “push” of tourism and the difficulties that is going through especially local trade. The new councillor has announced the launch of a campaign “De compras responsables por Euskadi” and the strengthening of the brand “Made in Basque Country” to strengthen the link between the two sectors.

Perez has distanced himself from initiatives such as the celebration of the Basketball Final Four held in Vitoria last May when it has been requested on this event from Elkarrekin Podemos. “It was not an act of this department that we are focused on sustainable tourism in the economic, social and environmental field,” said Perez who has reiterated the objectives of its management with the overall environmental strategy of the Basque Government.