The economic and cultural development that Spain has evolved throughout history to the present day is closely linked to the development of the tourism sector. Some famous visitors such as Washington Irving (Tales of the Alhambra) or Prosper Merimée (Carmen) came here in the 19th century to discover the romantic culture of Spain and its Arabian roots. In the present day, Spain is considered to be the second most important destination within Europe. It has reached 4th place in the number of receiving travelers (in 2013 there were 6.6 million) among travel destinations around the world. Today, tourism accounts for 10% of the gross domestic product and it is foreseeable that the number of holiday makers in Spain will rise annually by 2 to 3% until 2030.
Why visit Spain?
The great importance and the potential of the tourism sector in Spain are based on the cultural and natural wealth of the country. There are more than 40 cities, monuments and regions that are protected by UNESCO and with many others also candidates to occupy a place on the coveted list. Famous places and monuments such as the Alhambra, the Prado Museum in Madrid, the city of Barcelona, the caves of Altamira, Santiago de Compostela or the Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba are globally recognized symbols that ensure a constant influx of travelers with cultural interests and high purchasing power. The Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands, and the Canary Islands have together 7,800 kilometers of coastline, developing an intense seasonal “sun and sea” tourism. Rural tourism has also increased inland and offers over 1,720 protected areas and natural monuments.
Spain has an excellent transport infrastructure as well as a wide offer of hotels and services of the finest quality. Due to these excellent conditions provided by the cultural heritage and by the natural landscapes, the tourism sector can be optimistic and expect a secure future.