Spain tourism is booming
Spain had a record year regarding tourism in 2019, nearly 84m tourists visited Spain.
Here is the evolution of tourism towards Spain with a rolling year of data:
Major research conducted by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global body which represents the private sector of Travel & Tourism, has revealed Travel & Tourism is the largest sector in the Spanish economy, contributing €176bn to the nation’s activity in 2018.
Travel & Tourism contributes for 15% of the Spanish GDP, overtaking Construction (14%) and ahead of Retail (12%) and Health (12%).
Why Spain is booming? There are many reasons:
Here are our top 10 reasons why tourism is so strong in Spain:
- Enjoy 320 days of sun per year!
Sunshine in Spain is higher than 2500 hours per year… No other country can compete in Europe with that and if you calculate the number of square kilometre with at least 2500 hours of sun per year, Spain has about 80% of the European supply.
Do you want to check the weather statistics for any Spanish city to make an informed decision? Have a look at our Infographics on the monthly weather statistics for the 18 biggest cities in Spain: Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga,… and discover the sea temperature, the number of hours of sun per day, the number of mm of rain per month… Everything you need before planning your holidays.
- Spain has the second longest coastal line in the south of Europe behind Italy. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Spain.
- Spain enjoys a very stable political environment compared to Africa or Turkey for instance.
- Life expectancy in Spain is the second best country in the world:
Let’s check the top 10 countries in the world by countries and by sex. As you will see in the statistics produced by the OECD (2014 data), the life expectancy of Spaniards is the second longest in the world behind Japanese. The Women are ranked as well as second and the men are ranked sixth.
- The Spanish health Care System is the seventh best in the world as the ranking of the World Health Organization.
behind the Netherlands, Denmark and France. What a terrific result! The key findings of the research from OECD are that the ability to successfully combine work, family commitments and personal life are important for the well-being of all members of a household. In Spain, almost 6% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 13%. The more people work, the less time they have to spend on other activities, such as time with others, leisure activities, eating or sleeping. The amount and quality of leisure time are important for people’s overall well-being and can bring additional physical and mental health benefits. In Spain, full-time workers devote 66% of their day on average, or 15.9 hours, to personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure (socialising with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.) – more than the OECD average of 15 hours.
At around 1.3 children per woman, fertility rates in Spain have been amongst the lowest in the OECD for the past two decades. Increasingly, women and men first want to establish themselves in the labour market before having children. This has led to a postponement of childbirth and the average age of first childbirth for mothers is now close to 30. Low fertility rates are also related to a fall in the number of large families and a significant proportion of women remaining childless.”
- The cost of life in Spain is much lower than European averages.
We did the work with the help of the Statistics from Eurostat as of December 2017 to compare Spain vs all the other countries in Europe so that you could compare to your actual country of origin.
Here are the results:
If you compare Spain on this Chart in Orange colour with Europe in Blue colour, you will notice that Spain is more expensive in 2 areas: “Electricity, Gaz and fuels” and “Furniture and Furnishings” by 3%. A third sector not represented on this chart is Communication, which is 28% more expensive than the rest of Europe. For all the other sectors, Spain is cheaper!
Let’s have a look at the data:
As you can see with the General Index, Spain is on average 10% Cheaper than Europe! Then, Spain is very cheap for “Transport Services”, “Restaurants and Hotels”, “Clothing” and yes the list doesn’t stop here… Spain is really cheap for “Food and Drinks and Tobacco”.
For more information, read our article on that subject: Which are the cheapest Spanish cities?
- Sightseeing places:
Spain is a very rich country in terms of culture. You have a lot of Museums, many historic places, many sightseeing places. Spain has as well 45 UNESCO Sites and as such is the third country in the world behind Italy & China in terms of the number of sites! So don’t expect Spain to be just Sun and beaches!
Here is the list of the Unesco sites with direct links to get more information on those:
- Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada(1984)
- Antequera Dolmens Site(2016)
- Aranjuez Cultural Landscape(2001)
- Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida(1993)
- Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco(2000)
- Archaeological Site of Atapuerca(2000)
- Burgos Cathedral(1984)
- Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí(2000)
- Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville(1987)
- Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain(1985)
- Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana(2011)
- Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija(2012)
- Historic Centre of Cordoba(1984)
- Historic City of Toledo(1986)
- Historic Walled Town of Cuenca(1996)
- La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia(1996)
- Las Médulas(1997)
- Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid(1984)
- Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias(1985)
- Mudejar Architecture of Aragon(1986)
- Old City of Salamanca(1988)
- Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches(1985)
- Old Town of Cáceres(1986)
- Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct(1985)
- Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona(1997)
- Palmeral of Elche(2000)
- Poblet Monastery(1991)
- Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde(1998)
- Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza(2003)
- Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula(1998)
- Roman Walls of Lugo(2000)
- Routes of Santiago de Compostela:Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain (1993)
- Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe(1993)
- San Cristóbal de La Laguna(1999)
- San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries(1997)
- Last but not least… yes, let’s enjoy some shopping:
Which are the origin’s countries of the tourists?
The top 3 countries are:
- The United Kingdom with 22% of the tourists
- Germany with 13% of the tourists
- France with 13% of the tourists
The countries showing a stronger love (a tourist flow increase) for Spain in 2019 vs 2018 are:
- United States of America
- Rest of America
- Rest of World
- Rest of Europe
The countries showing a lower love (a tourist flow decrease) for Spain in 2019 vs 2018 are:
Please note that all those countries have a decreasing number of tourists but those decreases are small (less than 5%) on one hand and the 3 first countries on the list are the 3 countries providing the biggest tourist flow towards Spain in 2019 on the other hand.
- United Kingdom
- Nordic Countries
Here is our interactive chart with those data:
If you are travelling to Spain and would like to buy your dream home, start with our Spanish property buyer’s guides written for the top 10 nationalities buying properties in Spain.
Which are the most visited Spanish Regions?
The top 4 Spanish regions are receiving 70% of the tourism traffic. Those 4 regions are:
- Catalonia with 22% of the tourists
- The Balearic Islands with 16% of the tourists
- The Canary Islands with 16% of the tourists
- Andalusia with 14% of the tourists
Only Catalonia and Andalusia saw a growth in term of traffic this year.
Do you want to discover all the regions and the beautiful costas of Spain? Have a quick look at our infographics.
How do the tourists arrive to Spain?
82% of the tourists visiting Spain came by plane. If we think about it, it’s obvious, people travel from far where they have less sun to Spain in order to enjoy the sun. Spain has a very strong network of International Airports.
Have a look at our earlier articles on that:
- What are the nationalities of the passengers flying to/from Spanish airports in 2018?
- What are the biggest airports in Spain?
The second way of arriving in Spain is the car, 15% of travellers towards Spain come by car. Spain benefits from a very strong infrastructure network and in addition to that, there is a latest trend in Spain: Motorways are becoming toll-free in Spain…
Last but not least, even if the AVE Network does exist for more than 25 years in Spain, only a minor portion of tourists come from abroad with the fast train. For sure, the fast train AVE Network helps tourists to move quickly between cities.
How long do tourists stay in Spain?
Where do the tourists stay in Spain? Hotel? Friends?
If you want to have more resources before visiting Spain, here is the official website of the Spanish tourism office.