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Tourism, the country’s leading economic sector, represents about 11% of the national GDP.
Spain is the third most visited country in the world and ranks second worldwide in terms of tourism revenues. Spain is traditionally a country where leisure clients are very present (resorts), especially during summer. The country welcomes many international visitors, although these are mostly European.
The number of foreign tourist arrivals in commercial accommodation continues to rise, reaching 55.4 million in 2015, up 5.7% from 2014; and 2016 arrivals followed by border control (up 10.3%) point to further growth. In recent years, Spain benefited from structural demand dynamics as well as from the fears linked to political unrest existing in its main competing destinations. Tourism demand in Spain is mainly from international customers, representing 64.2% of overnight stays in the Spanish hotel industry.
The key source markets are Britain and Germany (one in six nights comes from each of these two countries), and France (5.4% of total nights). Together, these three countries account for over 37% of total arrivals, more than the domestic market (35.8%). Therefore, occupancy in Spanish hotels depends on the economic context in Western Europe; the hotel sector is more sensitive to the Spanish and European economic situation than to the global economy. It should also be observed that Spain in general and more specifically hotels along its shorelines may be affected by the results of the British referendum for exiting the EU (“Brexit“) and the evolution of the exchange rate between the euro and the pound sterling, which evolved unfavorably in the last months.
Spain has more than 617,522 rooms as of January 1, 2017. Spain’s hotel supply is mostly on the mid and upscale segments thanks to the strong presence of chains and also independent hotels on these segments, due in particular to the high volume of resorts in the supply.