The main outbound market in 2017 was the UK, with 18 million tourists

Spain retains leadership in tourism

In 2017, Spain welcomed more than 82 million tourists, which places us second among the most visited countries and first in terms of tourism competitiveness.

Spain continues to be a global leader in tourism. Data show our tourism industry continues to grow at a steady pace. In 2017, we hit a new record high in the number of international tourists: 82.2 million, that is, 8.9% more than in 2016 (sources: Tourspain and National Statistics Institute [INE], FRONTUR AND EGATUR surveys).

For the first time, our country has beaten USA, climbing to second by number of visitors. Moreover, we hit a new record high in turnover: according to INE data, tourists in Spain in 2017 spent 87,000 million euro, 12.4% more than the previous year, easily crossing the 60,000-million mark.

The main outbound market in 2017 was the UK, with 18 million tourists, followed by Germany (+11 million) and France (1.7 million).

Likewise, the favourite destinations with international visitors were Catalonia (18 million tourists), the Balearic Islands (13 million) and the Canary Islands (13 million).

The surveys show that the reasons why tourists visited Spain in 2017 were holiday and entertainment (50.6%), health and wellness, family and shopping (36.2%), and business (8.4%).

As to types of accommodation, visitors in 2017 preferred hotels (82%), holiday apartments still being a minority choice (13%).

Good prospects

According to the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, Spain is expected to welcome 30.4 million tourists from July to September 2018, that is, almost 2.3% more than in July-September 2017. It would be a new record high, with an estimated tourist expenditure in excess of 34,000 million euro.

Based on these figures, the Spanish Ministry of Tourism has developed a three-part sustainable strategy, with economic (quality), environmental and territorial (distribution of wealth) sides. Specific measures in line with this general strategy have already been announced; for instance, the establishment of a Smart Tourist Destination Network in September.