IBERIAN TOURISM ON RISE

Spain becomes third-most visited global destination

Consecutive years of record-breaking inbound tourism is breathing new life into Spain’s vacation hotspots and travel companies’ strategic positioning.

Spain is now the world’s third-most visited destination, behind only France and the USA. A new Phocuswright report, Spanish Online Travel Overview Eleventh Edition explores Spain’s travel market dynamics, and contains detailed information on all segments in the region.
Spain has emerged as a darling among European economies after years of fiscal turmoil, with gross domestic product jumping to 3.5% (year-over-year) in 2015. While inbound tourism is booming, ongoing austerity measures and sky-high unemployment (nearly 50% among the youth population) keep travel out of reach for many Spaniards.

AS TRAVEL SUPPLIERS BECOME INCREASINGLY FOCUSED ON DRIVING ONLINE_DIRECT BOOKINGS, OTAS` SHARE OF THE ONLINE CHANNEL WILL DECLINE.

TOTAL TRAVEL MARKET
The country’s travel market has been buoyed by strong inbound visitation, driven in part by political and economic turmoil in competing destinations, including Tunisia, Egypt and Greece. In 2015, Spain’s total travel market is projected to climb 7% to reach €23 billion, with 7-8% growth projected through 2017.

ONLINE TRAVEL MARKET
Online channels – including bookings via both desktop and mobile devices – are the primary growth drivers, with strong double-digit gains projected through 2017. As travel suppliers become increasingly focused on driving online-direct bookings, OTAs’ share of the online channel will decline. “Spain’s traditional travel companies, and especially the tour operator segment, have been slow to adapt to the online environment,” says Cathy Schetzina Walsh, Phocuswright’s senior research analyst. “In stark contrast are digital age companies which have prioritized online and mobile bookings and are now reaping the benefits.”