Air transport and tourism

Spain received 75.6 million international tourists in 2016, a historical record.

Air transport and tourism in Spain

Air transport is crucial for tourism, a strategic cornerstone of our economy which makes a major contribution to wealth and employment. Spain is the world's top holiday destination, it is third in tourist spending and third in total number of tourists. More than 80% of Spain's tourists arrive by plane.

Spain received 75.6 million international tourists in 2016, setting a new historical record with an increase of 7.7 million compared to the previous year (a year-on-year variation of 10.3%).

Of these 75,6 million tourists, over half came from three source markets: the UK, with over 17.8 million; France, with 11.4 million and Germany with 11.2 million.

The year-on-year growth in tourism from countries such as Canada, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Ireland was also significant.

Airports are the main gateway for tourists visiting Spain. More than 60.6 million (80.2%) used an aircraft as their means of transport, 17.2% travelled by road and less than 3% used other types of transport1.

2015 comparative data

Spain ranked third world-wide in international tourist arrivals in 2015, behind only France and the USA, and followed by China, Italy, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico and the Russian Federation2.

ARRIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS
Country Millions Variation (%)
2014 2015 2014 2015
France 83.7 84.5 0.1 0.9
USA 75.0 77.5 7.2 3.3
Spain 64.9 68.2 7.0 5.0
China 55.6 56.9 -0.1 2.3
Italy 48.6 50.7 1.8 4.4
Turkey 39.8 39.5 5.3 -0.8
Germany 33.0 35.0 4.6 6.0
United Kingdom 32.6 34.4 5.0 5.6
Mexico 29.3 32.1 21.5 9.4
Russian Federation 29.8 31.3 5.3 5.0
Source: World Tourism Organisation

Our country is also third in the world and first in Europe in international tourist revenue, with a total revenue of over 56. billion USD. This is only surpassed by the USA and China, which recorded revenue of more than 200 and 100 billion USD. Spain is followed by France,the UK, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong and Macao.

Tourism is a key sector for the Spanish economy, making up 11% of GDP and employing over 2 million people.

REVENUE FROM INTERNATIONAL TOURISM
Country Billions* Variation (%)
2014 2015 2014 2015
USA** 191.3 204,5 7.8 6.9
China** 105.4 114.1 -- 8.3
Spain 65.1 56.5 3.9 -13.2
France 58.1 45.9 2.8 -21.0
United Kingdom** 46.5 45.5 11.8 -2.3
Thailand 38.4 44.6 -8.0 16.0
Italy 45.5 39.4 3.6 -13.3
Germany 43.3 36.9 4.9 -14.9
Hong Kong (China) 38.4 36.2 -1.4 -5.8
Macao (China) 42.6 31.3 -1.1 -26.4
Source: World Tourism Organization
* US dollars
** USA, China and United Kingdom revised their data series upwards 2015 and previous years, due to changes in methodology.

1 Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Tourist Movement on Borders (Frontur).

2 Source: UNWTO. Annual Report 2015.