Spain presents to the UN its program to lead sustainable tourism in the EU

 Friday, July 14, 2023

The Secretary of State for Tourism, Rosana Morillo, will represent Spain today at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, “Tourism to achieve the SDGs: uniting countries and companies to guide to urgent action”, organized by the United Nations.

At the event, the Secretary of State will explain the actions being carried out to make Spain a leader in sustainable tourism in the European Union.

The event will focus on finding consensus around objective tools to be used for measuring sustainability in tourism.

The Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) would allow the different public administrations to have data to design innovative policies to improve the sustainability of the sector.

The second mechanism under discussion, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework, is designed to involve the private sector in the same objective.

Spain works closely with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) whose headquarters are in Madrid- to develop a framework that makes it possible to objectively measure sustainability in tourism.

The creation of this measuring framework, which needs approval of all stakeholders, will be one of the main focuses of the event.

In addition to attending the forum organized by the UN, the Secretary of State will meet with representatives of the tourism trade and media.

She will have a bilateral meeting with Terry Dale, President of the US Tour Operators Association (USTOA), among others. Her agenda includes also meetings with Ignacio Maza, Executive Vice President of the association of luxury travel agencies Signature Travel Network, and with Martin Rapp, Vice President of the Leisure Department of the Altour chain of agencies.

Morillo’s message will focus mainly on Spain’s commitment to tourism sustainability.

In her interventions, Morillo will explain the programs that the Secretary of State for Tourism has been developing to create environmentally, socially and economically sustainable tourism products.

American Tourism

Tourism from the United States is becoming of high interest for Spain, both for its volume and for its spending level. Data shows that this source market has recovered quickly after the pandemic.

According to Euromonitor latest figures of US tourism expenditure, 2022 tourism demand has nearly recovered the record figures of 2019, closing last year at less than 3% below pre-pandemic numbers.

The forecast for 2023 and 2024 is that the tourism market in the United States will reach and even exceed the volume of tourism demand of 2019.

In 2022, 2.8 million American tourists visited Spain, 3.9% of the total number of visitors received that year, and they spent a total of 5,250.2 million euros (6% of total spending), placing the US as the sixth biggest source market of visitors for Spain, and also the sixth in spending volume.

The average spend per person and per day amounted to 1,874 and 266 euros respectively, higher figures than the averages for all source markets, 1,216 euros per person and 162 euros per day.

The average stay for Americans was 7.05 nights, while the global average is 7.50 nights.

The number of Americans visitors to Spain recovered in 2022 faster than expected, reaching 84% of the record year of 2019 (Frontur). The total expenditure was 5,267 million euros, recovering 91% of the 2019 figure, and it is expected that will exceed it this year.

In fact, in October and December 2022 it already exceeded the expenditure made in the same months of 2019, (EGATUR. National Institute of Statistics, INE).

This rapid recovery trend goes on in the first four months of 2023 with the arrival in Spain of 854,769 Americans, 8.6% more than in the first four months of 2019.

And those months’ spending has been already much higher than in the pre-pandemic year: 29.1% more than that generated in the first quarter of 2019: €1,733,711,948.

The United States are becoming one of the most important source markets for some regions in Spain, according to available data for 2022.

That is the case of Madrid, where Americans are responsible for 15% of the total tourist spending in the Region.

Also in terms of spending, American visitors are essential to Catalonia, since they generate 12% of the total tourism receipts.

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