Demonstrators holding banners that read in Catalan: ‘Freedom for the Political Prisoners,’ gather during a protest against the decision of a judge to jail ex-members of the Catalan government at the University square in Barcelona, Spain, November. 5, 2017. A Spanish judge issued an international arrest warrant on Friday for former members of the Catalan Cabinet who were last seen in Brussels, including the ousted separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, who said he was prepared to run for his old job even while battling extradition in Belgium. Manu Fernandez / Associated Press
Catalonia’s top tourism official reckons tourism revenues in the restive Spanish region could be around 450 million euros ($520 million) lower in the final quarter of the year following August’s deadly attacks in Barcelona and the uncertainty generated by the independence referendum.
Speaking to The Associated Press at the World Travel Market in London, Patrick Torrent, executive director in the Catalan Tourism Agency, said the region will see a 10-12 percent fall in tourist numbers during the fourth quarter, which would equate to around 450 million euros.
Torrent said he met Monday with Alvaro Nadal, the Spanish minister of energy, tourism and digital. Madrid has taken control of Catalonia’s tourism agency after dissolving its parliament and calling December elections. Torrent said Madrid has made no requirements of him or his staff.
Meanwhile, Belgian prosecutors say ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will face court again on Nov. 17 as an investigating judge weighs his extradition to Spain.
The Brussels prosecutor’s office said Monday that the hearing will be held behind closed doors.
It is likely that Puigdemont and his four associates in the former Catalan regional government will learn whether they must be extradited to Spain, where several of their colleagues have already been jailed.
The five would have the right to appeal, and if they exhaust all legal avenues could remain in Belgium until early January.
Puigdemont has said he stands ready to campaign from Belgium in the Dec. 21 regional elections in Catalonia.
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