Catalonia, a leading tourist destination
Catalonia is one of the leading tourist destinations in Europe. From January to October 2016, it received 16 million foreign tourists, which is 4.2% more than in the same period in 2015, and they spent more than 15.4 billion euros.
Catalonia’s leading position can only be understood by taking different elements into account. On one hand, there is a tourism which focuses on Catalonia’s good weather and magnificent beaches, as well as Barcelona’s pulling power, a ‘must-see’ for all those who appreciate urban tourism and one of Europe’s most important destinations for business tourism. On the other hand is its diverse geography which allows the visitor to enjoy snow sports, nature and active tourism in the Pyrenees, as well as enotourism – based on wine production – or cultural tourism throughout the territory.
All these assets are well-known by British tourists, who are the second-biggest market for Catalonia, after the French. Between January and October 2016, 1.87 million British tourists visited Catalonia, a figure which is 6.2% higher than in the same period in 2015 and their total expenditure was 1.5 billion euros, 9.4% more than in the first ten months of 2015. British tourists especially appreciate Catalonia’s good value for money, its good weather, the excellence of its beaches, the natural surroundings and a diverse complementary offering based on its culture and gastronomy. In this vein, Catalonia was named European Region of Gastronomy 2016.
For all these reasons, Catalonia was doubly awarded at the last World Travel Market fair, in London. Within the Global Sport Tourism Summit framework, Catalonia was awarded the world’s best destination for sports tourism. Moreover, for the fifth consecutive year, Catalonia received the World Responsible Tourism Day prize, which praised the launching and promotion of accessible tourism.
The Catalan Government aims to present Catalonia as a tourist destination to the entire world and thus we bid for an innovative and outstanding promotion. In 2012, Catalonia was one of the first tourist destinations to organise an ‘Instagram Trip’ with a promotional purpose and we currently use virtual reality for our potential visitors to taste a bit of what they could enjoy when they actually visit us. Social networks are another important element for us, since Catalonia has more than 1.2 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Our work is already giving very good results, but there is still much to do. We want to promote Catalonia’s brand, improve our tourist companies’ competitiveness and keep on investing in technology and innovation as the core elements of our promotion strategy. The aim of all this is for Catalonia to continue to be a leading destination worldwide and provide a great deal of satisfaction to our visitors.
Octavi Bono Gispert
General Director for Tourism of the Catalan Government