Shopping tourism takes Spain’s image to a new height


The most prominent figures in the private and public spheres linked to shopping and quality travel attended the 3rd Shopping Tourism & Economy Summit, held 3 and 4 October in CaixaForum Madrid, where they highlighted the relevance of this segment in the travel industry and its impact on the positive image of our country abroad.

The summit is the only event held in Europe dedicated to shopping tourism. It consisted of two days packed with talks and panels, which were attended by 300 trade members and 50 speakers from the financial, technological, cultural and commercial sectors, as well as by representatives of corporations, institutions and agencies.

Some of the participants were the Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for the Presidency and Regional Administrations, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría; the High Commissioner for Marca España, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros; the Minister of Employment and Social Security, Fátima Báñez; and the Minister of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda, Álvaro Nadal, who discussed a number of issues related to quality tourism.

Spanish Ambassadors

At the summit, the High Commissioner for Marca España said our country needed promotion abroad and added that 7500 million people have heard of or been to Spain, a potential we should try to tap at travel fairs. Besides, he pointed at the need to promote our country as an off-season travel destination and to increase the average tourist expenditure. In Mr Espinosa de los Monteros’s words, attracting overseas visitors for whom shopping is one of the most popular activities would help attain both goals.

The Minister of Employment praised the strength of the Spanish tourism industry. ‘It is one of the most important symbols of Marca España’, she said, and a key sector for economic recovery, as it contributes 11.2% of the Spanish GDP and supports more than 2.5 million jobs.

Ms Báñez said Spain needed to promote quality tourism and turn visitors into ‘Spanish Ambassadors’ in their countries of origin. She added that Spain’s popularity as a travel destination was on the rise: ‘Spain attracts more and more visitors year after year. A record-breaking 36 million international tourists came to Spain in the first quarter of 2017.’

Tourism for all tastes

A point was made at the summit that our country needs to attract more overseas visitors and promote city travel and alternative destinations, as Spain has a lot to offer in the travel department.

At the event, the goal was set to attract more non-European visitors, since they are the travellers who spend the most per visit. At present, around 8 million tourists (12% of the total visitors to Spain) come from non-European countries. In 2016, they spent nearly 12,700 million euro in our country, or 16.4% of the total income generated by tourism.