Spain will close 2018 with 81.2 million international tourists (-0.8%), with an increase of 2.8% in spending

The number of Social Security affiliates in the tourism sector increased by 3.7% in September

The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, has advanced today that Spain will close 2018 with a total of 81.2 million international tourists, which represents a slight decrease of 0.8% compared to the record of 2017 that was «Exceptional» from the point of view of the flows, with an estimated associated cost of about 89,440 million euros for this year, representing an increase of 2.8% over the previous year.

According to the data of the quarterly Coyuntur report, the arrival of 15.3 million foreign visitors to Spain is expected for the fourth quarter of the year, which represents a decrease of 2.25% with respect to the same period of 2017, in which 15.6 million visitors were registered. As for tourism spending, it is estimated to increase by 3.4% to a volume of 17,539 million compared to 16,962 in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The minister of Tourism has indicated that these figures confirm «a tendency of normalization and stabilization of tourist flows» in our country, where the most outstanding decreases in the number of tourists have been recorded in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, but has highlighted the generalized increase of the expenditure made.

«These are some positive data that keep Spain in a country that receives international tourists, they are good levels considering that last year was an exceptional year because we came from a year 2016 of around 75.3 million,» he said. .

In spite of the normalization of the tourist flows of the last months, Maroto put in value the increase of the quality of the tourism that arrives at Spain. «The most important thing to note is the increase in the quality of tourism taking into account the increase in spending by tourists who visit our country,» he said.

In the absence of knowing the final data for the third quarter that will be published at the beginning of next month, Maroto has assured that these figures keep Spain as a big receiver of international tourists.


«Tourism in Catalonia is a strong sector but we have to recover institutional normality, we are reinforcing marketing campaigns abroad with a total of 196 promotional activities underway», Maroto explained, recalling that the community is hosting 23.4 % of the country’s international tourism.

Between January and August, a decrease of 5% in the number of foreign tourists to Catalonia has been detected, although spending has increased by 6.8%. According to Reyes Maroto, in Catalonia «political instability is a fact and a reason for less international tourists to come».

In the case of the Balearic Islands, the situation is different, being also a destination «with limited space». According to Maroto, the slowdown in visitors is due to the fact that there are certain destinations that are saturated, which is why measures are being taken to avoid excessive congestion of destinations with the possible rejection by residents.

Maroto does not believe that the recent torrential rains in some areas of the island could affect the final flow of tourists to the Balearic Islands at the end of the year.


Regarding employment, it has advanced the data of the increase in the number of affiliates in the tourism sector to Social Security in September, which stood at 2.5 million, 3.7% more than the previous year.

Maroto pointed out that these figures highlight that tourism activities continue to be «an engine of job creation and contribute to the strengthening of the Spanish economy», with 13.2% of affiliates.

The Minister of Tourism took the opportunity to take stock of the measures promoted by the Executive as the table for the quality of employment in the hospitality sector, the second phase of the Master Plan for Decent Work, the first meetings of the working group on tourist use housing (VUT), the promotion of the Paradores network, and the launch of the Smart Tourist Destinations Network.

With regard to the Director’s Plan for Decent Work, Maroro has announced that until September 30 more than 11,000 workers in the hospitality sector have seen their rights recognized and the quality of their employment improved. Thus, 7,265 temporary contracts have been transformed into permanent contracts (55% of the total number of affected workers) and have increased by 3,800 part-time contracts (15% of affected workers).

As next lines of action, Maroro has referred to the call for new working groups of Turespaña (statistics, marketing), the convening of the Interministerial Tourism Commission, the convening of the Spanish Tourism Council (Conestur) and the design of the Sustainable Tourism Strategy 2025.