Spain’s tourism industry is of extreme importance to the Spanish. It represents 12% of the country’s gross domestic product and Spain is almost the number one tourist destination on the planet. It rates only second to neighbouring France in terms of number of visitors and second to the Americans in terms of the volume of sales. This year has been a record year for the Spaniards with an expected total figure of 60 million tourists expected to have arrived by January 1, 2008. American arrivals are up 21.6% on last year which is an astounding improvement.
However, the Spanish are still not satisfied with this impressive situation and are aiming to boost the Spanish tourism industry to unbeatable status not only as far as sales and numbers of visitors are concerned, yet also in terms of the environment. The so-called Plan del Turismo Horizonte 2020 may well be optimistic yet is certainly achievable if the correct experts are employed to carry out the necessary marketing and promote Spain to the full. The plan aims to make the most out of and maintain environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable business models for tourism.
Two of the more concrete aims involve extending the tourist season. Indeed, many tourists come to Spain due to the weather yet managing to attract people who are interested in Spanish things other than the sun could be extremely lucrative. The second aim is to promote the lesser known areas of Spain, thus urging visitors to come inland a little and taste the wonderful rural life of the Spanish nation. Tourists need to learn that Spain is not only about Barcelona, Madrid and the Costa del Sol.
The three phases of the programme have also been set out. The first is to analyze the current situation of the Spanish tourism market and its possible future trends. Secondly, it is necessary to create seven groups of experts to formulate concrete ideas and goals. The final phase involves the completion of the strategic plan to make Spain the number one tourist country on the planet.