Tourism contributed 178 billion euros to the Spanish economy in 2018, representing an increase of 2.4% over the previous year and representing 14.6% of national GDP, according to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). According to this entity, the business travel segment represents the most important potential growth area for Spain.
Although this growth was below that of world tourism GDP, 3.9%, and that of Europe, which advanced 3.1% in 2018, WTTC has stressed that tourism contributed to the Spanish economy with one in seven euros in 2018, demonstrating the importance of the sector for Spain.
WTTC, which includes the world's leading tourism companies, forecasts that this year the Spanish tourism GDP will grow by 2.8%, above the European average (2.5%).
In 2018, the tourism sector added 2.8 million workers in Spain, 14.7% of total employment in the country.
Last year Spain was the fifth largest tourist economy in the European Union (EU) and the ninth in the world in terms of total contribution to the country's GDP, behind the USA (1), China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France and India.
The president and CEO of WTTC, Gloria Guevara, highlighted the solid growth of tourism spending in Spain and the good balance between the contribution of international and national tourism, 55% compared to 45%.
According to Guevara, this is one of the best proportions between both tourist segments, taking into account that the average contribution of international tourism in European countries is 35% and 29% worldwide.
Spain, therefore, benefits more from international travelers than other nations, while the only area of opportunity is that of business travel, which represents only 12% of Spanish tourism compared to a European average of 21%, has added.
For Guevara, 2018 was another "strong growth" year for the global travel and tourism sector, reinforcing its role as an engine for economic growth and job creation.
For the eighth consecutive year, tourism outpaced the growth of the global economy and registered the second largest increase among the world's main productive sectors.
The United States, China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom are the five major emitting markets, representing 47% of the world's travel GDP.
On the other hand, they stood out for their tourist performance, regions such as Asia-Pacific, with a growth of 6.4%, or North Africa, with one of 8.6%.