Spain’s record tourism rates good news for hotel sector

Inmaculada Ranera, Managing Director of Spain & Portugal at specialist property adviser Christie + Co says that the record tourism rates in the first five months of the year provide Spanish hoteliers with a renewed sense of optimism on the back of a volatile economic environment. 

The number of tourists visiting Spain spiked to a record high in the first five months of 2015, providing a significant boost to our hotel industry.

New figures released by the Spanish Tourism Ministry last week reveal that Spain welcomed 22.5 million tourists between January and May, with May marking a new record for the number of international visitors with 6.5 million arrivals, representing a 5.1% increase from the same period last year.

Every region in the country experienced growth, with Madrid seeing the highest growth at 11.7%.

The tourism industry is an integral part of the wider success of our economy and these terrific new figures speak volumes about the current health of the industry. They are particularly satisfying following the difficult years of hardship which saw the country become one of the biggest casualties of the euro zone's economic crisis.

With the Euro plunging to a seven-year low against the pound in 2015, Britain once again provided the bulk of inbound travellers, with almost 5 million tourists between January and May, up 3.3% from the previous year.

Spain stands to benefit greatly from China’s growing outbound travel market, and Chinese Friendly International, an organisation that is recognised throughout the EU, claims that over 300,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Spain this year.

Chinese tourists have leapfrogged the Americans and Germans in becoming the most prolific spenders globally and every effort is being made by the Spanish hotel industry to ensure that the needs of the Chinese are being met.

According to a survey carried out in 15 countries by, a travel metasearch engine, tourists of all nationalities, except China, rank the need to find the best price as the main criteria for selecting a hotel. The survey shows a well located hotel is of upmost importance to Chinese travellers, and that the price of a hotel only rates third on their list of criteria.

In 2014, overseas visitors injected approximately 63 billion euros into the Spanish economy – spending that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in our hotels, restaurants, shops and cultural institutions. The future indicates further optimism; economic activity is on an upward trajectory - albeit at a slow pace, with the European Commission predicting GDP growth of 2.8% this year, and 2.6 % next year in its European economic forecast for 2015.

Meanwhile, the hotel investment market has also started to revive, with demand coming from overseas investors betting that the tourism boom will translate into large profits.

The attraction of Spain as a destination for tourism remains high, and an improving economic backdrop and increasing visitor numbers suggest 2015 will continue its upward momentum.

Source: Property Magazine