Spain receives record number of tourists in 2018

MADRID – Spain received 82.6 million foreign tourists in 2018, setting a new record of visitor numbers to the country, according to figures published by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism on Friday. Spanish Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Reyes Maroto admitted that the growth in visitor numbers was considerably lower than the 8.9pc growth witnessed in 2017 and the high growth seen prior to that. But he told Xinhua that this was to be expected as other markets such as Turkey and North Africa recovered strength. “We are at a time when trends are normalizing and it makes us think it will be difficult to grow more,” she explained, adding that Spain has to look at other strategies to attract tourist revenue. “We have to improve the quality of tourism and bring visitors who have added value and spend more money,” she said. That strategy appears to be working, as although tourist numbers only rose by by around 400,000 last year, spending went up 3.1pc to 90 billion euros.

“The numbers are good and reflect a new record and they allow us to continue working to consolidate our growth and consolidate high-level tourism,” said Maroto.

The as yet unknown effects of the Brexit could well affect the number of visitors to Spain in 2019, given that the UK is the biggest source market for Spain.

But the minister highlighted that her ministry has a budget of 316 million euros to “strengthen new lines of action, such as technological innovation, promotion campaigns abroad and new planning and management models for intelligent and sustainable destinations.

Tourism currently contributes 13 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) with a return of 2 euros for every euro invested in the sector. The year 2017 saw 82.2 million tourists visit Spain, beaten only by the 89.9 million who travelled to France. (1 euro equals to 1.14 U.S. dollars


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