Why is tourism in the Basque Country experiencing a drop in attendance and turnover? Discover the unexpected reasons!


  • Unexpected reasons for the drop in tourism numbers in the Basque Country:
  • Impact of unpredictable weather conditions
  • Saturation of traditional tourist areas
  • Increase in prices for accommodation and activities
  • Increased competition from other destinations
  • Communication and marketing issues

Tourism in the Basque Country is currently experiencing a drop in attendance and turnover, raising questions and concerns. But what unexpected factors are behind this decline? Let’s dive into the heart of this issue to understand all the nuances.

An unfavorable climate impact

The first factor explaining this decrease is the weather report. In recent weeks, the Basque Country has experienced a lot of precipitation and temperatures below seasonal averages. These climatic conditions have dissuaded many tourists from choosing this destination for their vacations.

The effects of inflation on purchasing power

There rising inflation also plays a crucial role. With galloping inflation, the purchasing power of households is decreasing, making stays in the Basque Country less financially accessible. Potential visitors then turn to alternative destinations, often less expensive and less crowded.

Political instability and its repercussions

During periods of election campaign, the tourism sector often suffers a drop in activity. This year, President Emmanuel Macron’s dissolution of the National Assembly has added a layer of uncertainty for many travelers. Denis Ulanga, director of the departmental tourism agency (ADT), explains that election years are comparable to stock market fluctuations: “When confidence in the economy is low, household morale deteriorates,” thus affecting vacation decisions. .

An evolving tourism strategy

However, this drop in attendance is not necessarily bad news for everyone. Since 2021, the Basque Country agglomeration has modified its tourism strategy, favoring a responsible and diversified tourism. Rather than increasing the number of visitors, the emphasis is placed on more varied experiences and less concentrated on the Basque coasts alone.

Shift of the tourist season

A consequence of this new approach is that tourism is starting to expand outside of the traditional summer season. Thus, the inland Basque Country attracts more and more visitors in spring and autumn. However, this enthusiasm for the countryside and off-season holidays is not yet enough to compensate for the loss of traditional summer visitors.

ADT figures on the decline

Forecasts from the Basque Country’s departmental tourism agency (ADT) indicate an overall drop in attendance of 8% compared to 2023, with a potential peak of 10% on the Basque coast. In terms of turnover, this represents a decrease of 7%, or a loss estimated at 750 million euros.

Future prospects

Faced with these challenges, the region must rethink its methods of attracting visitors. Although the drop in attendance and turnover is worrying, it could also offer an opportunity to implement more sustainable and diversified tourism, adapted to the expectations of contemporary travelers.

The drop in tourist numbers in the Basque Country can therefore be explained by a combination of climatic, economic and political factors. However, this situation could well be the catalyst needed for positive and lasting transformation of the sector.