The Spanish tourism industry can expect a recovery in 2023, worth 186.6 billion euros and contributing 12.8% to the national economy. This is the highest rate in the historical series.
Even better: the forecast for 2024 is to increase the contribution to over 200 billion euros, increasing its share of the national economy to 13.4 percent.
The Bank of Spain predicts that Spain’s real economic growth will reach 2.4 percent in 2023, and tourism will also make a significant contribution. This sector is expected to grow by 13.1 percent and account for 70.8 percent of the country’s economic growth.
Spain’s tourism sector is expected to grow, albeit more moderately, in 2024 due to inflation, rising wages and high financial costs. According to experts, Spanish tourism will have unprecedented economic value by 2024. Exceltur predicts that the gross domestic product of tourism will exceed 200 billion euros for the first time in history; This represents an increase of 8.6% compared to 2023. This would make tourism responsible for 13.4% of Spain’s overall economy. Moreover, tourism is expected to contribute 41.4% to the real growth of the Spanish economy in 2024; This rate is above the country’s total GDP estimate.
7.8% increase in turnover
Spanish businessmen expect business to improve based on tourism GDP forecast. They predict that 2024 will end with a 7.8% increase in sales compared to the already positive 2023. This development will benefit holiday destinations and cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. High travel intentions and the revival of long-distance and business tourism to international destinations are contributing to this growth. However, the Spanish tourism organization Exceltur is cautious about these historical figures and points out that it is necessary to analyze whether this rapid growth is sustainable. Managing success and growth in the coming years will be a major challenge for domestic and international tourism in Spain.
Turnover increases despite increasing costs
Tourism companies experienced growth for the second year in a row in 2023, thanks to increased turnover and efforts to keep costs under control. Despite increases in financial costs (+18.9%) and labor costs (+7.3%), the moderation in supply costs (+9.6%) and the decrease in energy costs (-2.8%) contributed to this growth.
The expansion of Spain’s tourism industry has resulted in significant job creation, with 95,224 more jobs created in 2023 than in 2022. The sector also saw improvements in working conditions: temporary employment fell by 8% and wages increased by 4.4%. However, access to skilled workers remained a problem. The tourism sector accounted for 17% of the total employment generated in Spain in 2023.
Compared to 2022, employment in the tourism sector increased faster than other sectors, mainly in open contracts. According to data from Exceltur, the temporary employment rate was only 8%, below the 13.7% in the rest of the Spanish economy.
Spanish tourism contributes approximately 187 billion euros to the economy
Demand for tourism in Spain has been unexpectedly high all year round. This has resulted in higher spending in Spanish locations than in foreign locations, despite strong annual growth of around 30% through 2023.
Last year, Spain’s external demand increased significantly due to rapid growth in high-spending markets and the shift of high-end segments to traditional markets. Central European and British markets and the short- and long-haul markets of the United States grew, offsetting declines in Germany and Scandinavia.
This positive trend in tourism is reflected in all sub-sectors of the chain: While hotel revenues increased by more than 20 percent compared to 2019, travel agencies increased by 13 percent and transportation companies increased by 16.9 percent.
Coastal areas of Spain benefit the most.
Spain’s tourism sector achieved a positive balance in 2023; Sales levels in many destinations exceeded 2019 levels by 15%. Sun and beach communities performed exceptionally well; Sales in the Balearic Islands increased by 26% and sales in the Canary Islands increased by 23.2%.
The mainland also performed admirably, with an increase of 18.8% in Andalusia, 16.6% in the Valencian Community, 27.5% in Catalonia and 15.1% in the Madrid Community. Exceltur reported that beach holiday destinations have the best balance sheet in 2023, with many destinations generating revenue close to or above 30% of levels achieved in 2019. Stede also performed well in 2023, exceeding 2019 revenue levels, although not as well as the resorts. Cities such as Malaga, Valencia and Santiago de Compostela experienced significant growth.