Spain's Tourism Industry

Spain's international appeal ensures a vibrant tourism industry continues to thrive. Many visit Spain for historical tours of museums and important buildings, others for stunning beaches, islands, cultural events and culinary delights.

Spain's Tourism Industry Tops E27 Nation Statistics

Over the last five years, Spain's international tourism receipts represented a quarter of total revenue for Europe's 27 member countries. Affected by the recent economic downturn, Spain's world ranking fell from second place tourism direct industry GDP in 2007, to fifth place in 2010, behind the United States, China, Japan and France.

2013 Tourism Industry Recovery for Spain

There are emerging positive signs of growth in the Spanish Tourism Industry, with 5.8 million foreign visitors to Spain in May 2013. This represents an increase of seven percent when compared to May 2012.

Spanish Tourism Companies Exploit New Markets

Many tourism operators have adapted their customer service approach as a result of slightly leaner years. Innovative new markets in Spain's tourism industry are attracting tourism entrepreneurs like U.S expat Lauren Aloise, who runs Madrid Food Tour. Taking advantage of the international reputation Spain has for produce, meats, wines, liqueurs, tapas and specialist regional delights, Madrid Food Tour takes touring visitors to all the top shopping spots. The tour is greatly appreciated by the producers and bar and restaurant owners of Madrid who get to meet new and interested customers. Similar niche tours and operators are popping up in Spanish tourism city centres like Barcelona and Seville.

Spanish Business Owners Change Approaches to Tourism

An exciting emerging market is eco-tourism, where a farm-to-plate approach sees tourism group A Taste of Spain offering visits to free range pig farms. One of these tours features leading Spanish brand Iberico ham. Tourists get to do tasting, understand humane produce methods, and the products that result from eco-rearing. Many tourists might not realise that a big meat brand can put a cost competitive product on the shelves, using humane farming methods.

One barrier to tourism receipts included cultural observances and traditions. Many classic Spanish villages like Andalucia strictly observe siesta closing times, neglect to provide substantial evening meal options, and close attractions throughout day-time periods. In an effort to attract tourists and cater for tour operator timetables and needs, particularly coaching tours, towns are beginning to make changes here, opening more often, with better provision in mind.

Spain's Property Market a Key Investment for Tourism

The property market in Spain boomed in 2000 and then busted in 2007 after price increases of 200% made holiday rentals more expensive. Interestingly, since 2010, there's been a marked increase in visiting tourists to Spain from the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China, along with the US and Middle East headcount figures.

Leading Spanish holiday rental company Go with Oh reports a sharp increase in Russian tourism holiday makers. Similarly, British expat relocation experts Property in Spain have been translating their website into Russian to reflect the huge interest emerging from those wishing to buy a home in Spain. In Costa Del Sol competitively priced buy to let holiday rentals are on the market again, alongside second home purchase options in the Spanish coastal resort towns.

Health Tourism in Spain is a New Emerging Market

More than 20,000 international tourists visited Spain for health reasons in 2012, spending significantly more per head than other types of tourists. With the European market reflecting nine million health tourists per year, Spain is keen to grown this market niche into a major tourism priority.

The reasoning is that as people grow older and experience longer life expectancy, the market for health tourism in Spain will grow by demand. As an expected ageing population emerges in both UK and German populations, Spain needs to capture more of these health tourists. The UK and Germany comprise Spain's top tourism visitors, and by 2020 the health tourism market will be much larger.

The recent increase in Spain's tourism figures reflect an economic recovery in the UK and Germany, with visitor increases of 9.3% and 13.2% respectively. Traditionally the lion's share of the tourism market in Spain is from UK and German holiday makers. The recent innovations into new market niches, and the influx of BRIC visitors, suggest there's many exciting changes to come for Spain's tourism industry.