Spanish tourism hit a new all-time record for inbound tourists in 2017, with 81.8 million visitors entering the country.
The number represents an 8.6 per cent increase from 2016 and positions Spain as second place on the world ranking of most-visited countries, only after France.
Arrivals from Canada to Spain grew by more than one-quarter, at 25.2 per cent in 2017, with 489.307 visitors. The most visited region in Spain by Canadians was Catalonia (45.3%), followed by Madrid and Andalusia.
Last night, the Tourist Office of Spain held a Barcelona/Catalonia workshop for travel partners in Toronto, where 19 suppliers were on hand to provide updates on the latest product offerings.
Simone Cercel (Air Canada), María Pons (Catalan Tourist Board), Laura Pena (Tourist Office of Spain), Cristina Gargallo (Catalan Tourist Board) and Herbert Wolf (Vision Travel)
The following suppliers were in attendance:
- The Catalan Tourist Board
- Turisme de Barcelona
- Barcelona Province Tourism Board
- Barcelona Hotel Association
- Derby Hotels Collection
- H10 Hotels
- Catalunya bus Turístic
- Passeig de Gràcia Association
- Barcelona Obertura Classic & Lyric
- Casa Batlló
- Casa Vicens
- Hotel Miramar
- The Real Thing
- Aborígens-Local Food Insiders
- Sol-V.I.P. Travel.
Tapas aside, cultural heritage continues to be the most important motivation to travel to Europe for Canadian tourists, and Catalonia´s impressive and diverse cultural heritage attracts many visitors year after year.
Famous architect Antoni Gaudi has a total of seven works that are considered protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites, present in or near Barcelona, including the whimsical Parque Güell, and the Crypt of La Sagrada Familia.
The Tourist Office of Spain notes that 2018 is showing much promise for a strong tourism year, with a moderate but steady growth in the number of Canadians travelling abroad. The office also noted that Spain is well-positioned for success in the market, with an expected increase in airline capacity.