People thinking of moving to Spain should do so with an open mind, an official at the Spanish Tourist Office (STO) has said.
Those who are returning to the country will see something they missed last time, Carmen Hernandez Gomez, a market analyst at the STO, explained.
"Even if you have been to a place many, many times, there is probably a lot about it that you don’t know yet," she said.
Her comments came after the regional authority of Andalucia passed legislation requiring that all holiday homes owned by expatriates that do not have proper planning permission should be knocked down, prompting expatriates living in Malaga to take to the streets in protest.
Spain is popular with tourists and with those looking to settle down in the sun. However, international tourist arrivals fell by 3.8 per cent to 2.7 million last year, according to the country’s Tourism, Commerce and Industry Ministry.
The number of visitors from the UK, Spain’s largest market, fell 7.7 per cent in February and those from Germany were down 2.6 per cent. Visitors from both countries accounted for 40 per cent of the total number of tourists to Spain last month.
The ministry said that the global downturn had hit Spanish tourism hard, which had not been helped by the strength of the euro and competition from cheaper destinations. February was also marked by poor weather across Europe, which impacted on visitor numbers.
Those considering moving to Spain could think about taking out expat health insurance to help with medical bills.
Moving abroad? Get a free quote for your international medical insurance online.