Spain sets new foreign tourist arrival record for sixth consecutive year

4 February 2019

A total of 82.8 million people visited the country in 2018, and spent more on average than in 2017

For the sixth year in a row, Spain has set a new record for foreign tourist arrivals. There were 82.8 million international visitors last year, a 1.1% rise from 2017, according to new figures released on Friday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

There is renewed competition from destinations such as Turkey, Tunisia and Greece

Despite the emergence of competing destinations and some adverse weather, there was a surge in arrivals in the last quarter of the year, particularly in December.

And figures show that tourist spending grew at an even faster pace, for a total expenditure of nearly €89.9 billion, representing a 3.3% rise from 2017.

The numbers come close to the ideal situation that the government and the tourism industry are aiming for: greater spending by tourists, but not so many arrivals as to create saturation, stretch public services thin and lead to local expressions of tourist-phobia.

The Industry, Trade and Tourism Ministry noted that average daily spending by individual tourists grew 7.4% to €146. This figure is a better approximation of what tourists actually spend in Spain, as the total expenditure figures also include plane fare, which is paid in the country of origin.

Tourism from the United States grew 11.8%

As for the average duration of the stay, it went down from 7.7 days in 2017 to 7.4 days in 2018.

The growth rate for international arrivals has also slowed down considerably: 1.1% from 2017 to 2018, compared with 8.7% from 2016 to 2017. This is partly due to renewed competition from destinations such as Turkey, Tunisia and Greece, which attracted more visitors from Britain and Germany, the two main source countries of tourism to Spain.

In 2018, there were 11.4 million German tourists in Spain, a 4.1% drop from the previous year, while the number of British visitors declined by 1.6% to 18.5 million. Tourism from Scandinavian countries dropped 0.7% to 5.7 million.

But these drops were offset by a jump in visitors from other countries. Tourism from the United States grew 11.8% to reach close to three million. There was also a 6.3% rise in Russian visitors, who numbered 1.2 million.

Original Story: El País – Javier Salvatierra

Foto: Paco Puentes


Radisson Wants To Grow In Madrid & Barcelona

30 March 2017 – Expansión

Radisson Blu – the hotel chain belonging to the Carlson Rezidor group, which is itself controlled by the Chinese giant HNA – arrived in Spain in 2009, with the opening of the Radisson Blue Hotel Madrid Prado. Three years later, it opened a resort in Gran Canaria, and just a few months ago it inaugurated its newest hotel in the country, the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, also in Gran Canaria.

Radisson Blu owns almost 300 hotels in 69 countries. Now, the company wants to strengthen its commitment to Spain and to this end, it is analysing Madrid and Barcelona with particular interest, as key destinations for the opening of new establishments under the Blu and Red brands. “Spain represents an opportunity. We perform most of our expansion through management contracts or franchises, which means that we are not interested in leases, however the properties must always be in good locations”, explained Richard Moore, Vice President for Western Europe, the UK and Ireland at Radisson Blu.

HNA Tourism Group completed the purchase of Carlson Hotels last year and so took over control of 51.3% of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, where it competes with NH, in which HNA also holds a stake. (…).

Moore added that the chain has studied options on the Mediterranean coast but that, for the firm to open a hotel, it “has to fit with our brand. We are proud of the way we make our brands fit with the properties and of our relationships with the property owners”.

Specifically, in the case of its most recent hotel in the Canary Islands, the chain has reached an agreement with the Norwegian family group Wenaasgruppen, which owns 24 hotels. It is the second time that the company has worked with the Norwegian group, which also owns the other hotel that Radisson manages in Gran Canaria. (…).

Moore added “There are lots of reasons why we want to have a presence in Spain and, above all, in Gran Canaria”. He said that, in the last twelve months, the number of tourist arrivals in Gran Canaria has grown by 14% and the average revenue per room (RevPar) has risen by 18% – or 15% in the case of luxury hotels -. “25 airlines fly to 142 destinations from Gran Canaria in 25 countries. It is the second most popular destination after Tenerife”, he said.


In terms of risks to the business, Moore does not think that Brexit will have a significant impact on tourism in the islands and less so on the hotels that the group manages, which are upscale establishments (five stars) with a very diversified client base. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebecca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake