The importance of tourism for the Spanish economy

It is common to hear that the most important asset of the Spanish economy is the tourism. Taking into account that we are in summer time, it would be good to know some of the real effects of tourism for the national economy.

We can start saying that tourism has an extraordinary importance in Spain. In fact, our country is the second one that receives more incomes from this activity, and it was the third most visited country in the world, being visited by more than 60 million of tourists according to UNWTO (World Tourism Organization).

The numbers are quite astonishing: tourism in Spain contributes to 10.9% of GDP, making tourism the major contributor to the national economic life. Not surprisingly, this sector, which is expected to grow, has helped Spain to recover from the long economical recession. In this sense, Exceltur, one of the many Spanish tourism industry associations, predicts that this industry will grow by 1’8% on 2014.

The effects of tourism can be seen in the employment as well. Thus, this activity employs 12% of the Spanish workforce. Notwithstanding, most of it is based on a very short term and temporary basis. Be that as it may, it is a key sector for employment and that is why Government has a commitment to promote Spain as a destination in major emerging markets.

But why is Spain so popular for tourists? There is not a single answer, but a combination of multiple factors that makes Spain a great place to visit: low prices, numerous monuments, good weather, more than 7500km of coast, extraordinary nightlife, multiple cultural and art museums. These reasons are enough to attract many people all over the world, especially from Great Britain, which account for 23’6% of all foreign tourists. Germany (16’2%) and France (15’7%) come next. But maybe the most important ones are the Russian tourists (2’6%), not only because they show the biggest increment, soaring by 31’6% from 2012, but also because their purchasing power is generally quite big.

Gaudi's building (Casa Milá).

Gaudi’s building (Casa Milá).

There are many regions to visit in Spain, but there are ones that are visited more than others. The number one in the ranking is Cataluña, with more than 15 million of foreign visitors in 2013. It is followed by Mallorca (11 million) and southern Andalucía (Costa del Sol mainly).

Unfortunately, not all that glitters is gold. Domestic travel has fallen sharply and many experts claim that tourists are starting to use low cost formulas for their visits. This involves private renting systems for accommodation such as Airbnb, which are quite criticized by hotel’s owners, or a very low spending on their visit. But the truth is that the spending in 2013 by international tourists has grown by almost 9% from the same period last year. Nevertheless, the future for Spain looks brilliant in terms of tourism. Spain’s unique and spectacular atmosphere will continue to fascinate foreign and national people.

Source| Wikipedia, Marca España, WTTC.

Image| Wikipedia

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Gonzalo Andreu Candau

Bachelor student in Law and Business Administration by Seville University. Former exchange student in Chile and The Netherlands. Read Full

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