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26 January 2024

The Prime Minister highlights at FITUR that Spain received 84 million visitors in 2023 and that tourist spending increased by 24%

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Pedro Sánchez describes FITUR as "the best tourism trade fair in the world" and affirms that the Spanish tourism sector maintains its world leadership.

2023 closed with a record number of jobs in the tourism industry, with more than 2.5 million employees, and in the third quarter the temporary employment rate was 21%, five points lower than a year ago.

The Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, stated this morning at FITUR that Spain would close 2023 with an all-time high in visitor numbers, specifically 84 million tourists, as well as record revenue of €108 billion and an increase in tourist spending of more than 17% compared to pre-pandemic levels, and almost 24% compared to 2022. Sánchez participated in the event 'Social sustainability: designing tomorrow's tourism today', together with the Ministers of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Óscar Puente, and of Industry and Tourism, Jordi Hereu, which took place at the Turespaña stand. The International Tourism Trade Fair is taking place from 24 to 28 January 2024 at IFEMA MADRID.

The Prime Minister described FITUR as "the best tourism fair in the world", and indicated that the 2024 edition is characterised by "optimism based on good results", and expressed his desire that it will also serve to open "a new era for Spanish tourism of consolidation and growth based on quality, digitisation and sustainability".

He explained that the tourism sector in Spain "maintains its world leadership and has overcome an unprecedented crisis in record time" as was the Covid health emergency, breaking "all records" in 2023. Furthermore, he added that 2023 closed with a record number of jobs in the tourism sector, more than 2.5 million employees, the highest number of jobs since records began, and of higher quality, since in the third quarter of 2023 the temporary employment rate in the industry stood at 21%, five points lower than a year ago.

Among the reasons for Spain's worldwide leadership in tourism, Sánchez highlighted the work of the tourism sector to diversify its offer and provide a better experience for visitors, the quality of services, good management of companies, the professionalism of workers and quality infrastructures. He also emphasised the network of public services that offer "security, peace of mind and confidence to visitors", as well as the "excellent public health system", the climate and "the coexistence, social peace and diversity of Spain, a source of attraction and prosperity for our country".

Quality, digitisation and sustainability

With regard to the policies implemented by the government, Sánchez stressed that "many things have been done well", with actions aimed at transforming the tourism model, prioritising environmental sustainability and digital transformation. To this end, the amount dedicated to tourism in the 2023 State Budget exceeded €1 billion, an increase of 350% compared to 2018.

This is in addition to the €3.4 billion of the Recovery Plan dedicated to the sustainable and digital transformation of the sector, of which €2.64 billion will be managed by the autonomous communities. At this point, Sánchez thanked all the companies in the tourism sector for their "commitment" and stressed that institutional collaboration is another of the keys to the success of Spanish tourism, a sector that is "an example of co-governance, mutual understanding and public-private collaboration".

He stressed the need to introduce the principles of the circular economy into management and to promote energy efficiency, as well as to de-concentrate the offer, focusing on emerging destinations and on "the immense potential and attractiveness of Spain’s interior".

In the area of digital transformation, he explained that, within the framework of the Tourism Sector Modernisation and Competitiveness Plan, an 'industrial data space' has just been launched to support the digital transformation of the sector towards the intensive use of big data and artificial intelligence, and an innovation platform for the development of applications, products and services for companies in the sector. These measures, he added, should be accompanied by training and re-qualification in digital skills for industry workers.

Expansion of Madrid airport

During the event, he also announced the launch of the project to expand Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, with an investment of €2.4 billion, the largest investment in airport infrastructure in Spain in the last decade. The million-euro investment to expand the Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas airport will result in a "strong growth in capacity and routes, in the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs and in the generation of wealth", said Pedro Sánchez. And he recalled that these airport facilities already account, directly and indirectly, for nearly 10% of the GDP of the Community of Madrid.

With this investment, the Spanish Government and Aena seek to strengthen the airport's leadership of the hub with Latin America and will develop the hub with Asia with new routes and airlines operating with that continent. The airport's capacity will reach 90 million passengers by 2031, which is 28% more than its current capacity. "It will be the airport with the greatest growth potential in Europe", he stressed.