Spain, a global tourist power

Spain is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. Its wide range of tourist resources and attractions, its hotels, Spaniards’ friendliness, and a highly professional tourist industry lead 75 million international tourists to select Spain as their destination every year.

Leader in Holiday and Leisure Tourism

  • Spain is the 2nd leading tourism brand in the world.
  • It is the 3rd country in terms of number of tourists per year.
  • Spanish airports receive more than 230 million passengers every year.
  • Spanish ports receive 8.6 million cruise passengers every year.
  • The headquarters of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), the United Nations agency that is the main international tourism institution, are located in Spain.

Leader in Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, and Events (MICE)

  • Spain is the fourth country in the world in terms of international meetings, according to the ICCA ranking (only surpassed by the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom).
  • Two Spanish cities are among the Top 5 of the ICCA ranking: Barcelona (#3) and Madrid (#5) are two of the leading destinations for meetings in the world.
  • In 2015, more than 22,000 meetings, with more than 3.8 million participants, were held in Spain.

Tourist Segments

Sustainable tourism

For years now, Spain has opted for sustainable, inclusive tourism which allows sustained economic growth while preserving the environment and local culture and customs.

Accessible tourism

Over the last 20 years, Spain has developed various programmes to enable people with disabilities to enjoy our cultural and natural heritage.

Gastronomy tourism

Every year, Spain receives almost 8 million tourists whose main motivation to travel is gastronomy. Quality, diversity, and innovation are three key factors in Spanish gastronomy. Learn more about Gastronomy.

Cruise tourism

Spain is one of the main cruise destinations in the world. Barcelona is the largest cruise port in Europe, with more than 2.5 million cruise passengers in 2016. 3 other Spanish ports are among the Top 11: Balearic Islands (4), Las Palmas (8), and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (11).

Shopping tourism

Shopping in Spain is a unique, highly rewarding experience. Most Spanish cities have large shopping areas and freedom of opening hours (with shops opening on weekends). These range from famous designers’ premises, traditional markets, and gourmet shops to department stores and outlets. Spain has produced great fashion designers and international brands, such as Zara, Mango, Custo, Loewe, and Desigual, among many others.

The main fashion events include the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, the Barcelona Fashion Week, and the Valencia Fashion Week.

Health tourism

Spain is one of the main health tourism destinations in the world. It is the 6th European destination and the 8th globally. Many old spas and modern health and wellness centres can be found all over Spain, were you can switch off from the daily grind and find yourself again.

Sports tourism

Many international sports events are held in Spain during the year. These events are an excellent opportunity to surprise the participants in corporate meetings and events. These include:

  • Football: Regular Spanish Liga and Champions League matches.
  • Motorcycling: Three Grand Prix: Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), Comunidad Valenciana (Valencia) and MotorLand Aragón (Teruel).
  • Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona).
  • Mutua Madrid Open de Tenis.
  • Barcelona World Race.
  • Sailing – with a coastline of more than 8,000 km, Spain is a haven for sailing and water sport lovers.
  • Skiing – 30 ski resorts for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. These include Sierra Nevada, the southernmost ski resort in Europe.
  • Golf – With more than 500 courses, Spain is the European leader in golf tourism. It offers spectacular courses in natural environments, with the highest quality in services and complementary offerings.

Nature tourism

  • Spain is the 2nd country in the world in terms of number of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
  • It has a network of 45 Biosphere Reserves and 15 National Parks.
  • 30 protected areas have been accredited by the European Sustainable Tourism Charter.
  • Approximately 30% of the Spanish territory is covered by forest land.