Spain Faces Tourism Decline as Thousands of Bars Close in Rapid Succession

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Spain Faces Tourism Decline as Thousands of Bars Close in Rapid Succession

Spain is at risk of a decline in tourist interest following the closure of thousands of bars, taverns, and cafes within a short span, according to experts. The Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE) reported a significant 17 percent decrease in the number of existing bars between 2021 and early 2023.

As of January 1 last year, Spain had 168,065 registered bars, including traditional bars, taverns, cocktail bars, and coffee shops, as defined by the INE. However, 7,825 bar venues shut down in 2022 alone, marking a 4.5 percent decrease from the previous year.

Reasons cited for these closures include the retirement of previous owners, a lack of interest among younger relatives in taking over the business, rising costs, and the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Madrid area witnessed the highest number of bar closures, with 5,900 establishments closing down between 2021 and 2023, representing a significant 26.3 percent decline. Castilla y Leon and the Galicia regions were also heavily affected, experiencing declines of 24 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively.

Even popular regions among British tourists and expats, such as Andalusia and the Canary Islands, saw significant declines of 10.1 percent and 10.2 percent in the number of bars, respectively.

These closures raise concerns about the potential for a "vicious cycle" in Spain's tourism industry, which could impact its appeal to visitors in the future.

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