(MENAFN Press) Travel and tourism's direct contribution to the national GDP in Spain was 5.3% in 2011, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
During the review period 2007“2011, the total number of trips undertaken by residents, including both domestic and international trips, increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.09%.
While outbound and domestic trips increased at a healthy review-period CAGR of 5.90% and 3.96% respectively, inbound tourism declined at a CAGR of -1.57% due to the prevailing economic conditions in Europe.
Domestic tourism will continue to grow at a healthy pace
Domestic tourist volume recorded a review-period CAGR of 3.96%, and accounted for 93% of the country's total tourist volume in 2011.
The increase in volume of domestic tourists is being driven by the growth of low-cost airlines offering affordable flying options, discounts offered by tour operators, as well as the popularity of festivals such as La Tomatina and San Fermin.
he most popular tourist destinations in the country include Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Ibiza and the Costa Brava, which are known for their natural beauty, architectural masterpieces, museums, festivals, events, beaches and nightlife.
The volume of domestic tourists is expected to further increase at a CAGR of 2.87% over the forecast period.
Increasing volume of outbound tourists
The number of outbound tourists from Spain increased at a healthy CAGR of 5.90% over the review period. High-growth tourist destinations in terms of the number of outbound tourists were the UK with a 10.1% CAGR, Germany with a CAGR of 9.54% and Italy with a CAGR of 6.53% over the review period.
European nations such as France, Portugal and Italy were the key destinations, collectively accounting for 41.1% of total outbound traffic.
One of the principal reasons for this growth in tourism to neighboring European countries is the availability of efficient air, road, rail and sea transport.
Over the forecast period, the volume of outbound tourists from the country is expected to continue to grow at a CAGR of 2.54%.
Healthcare infrastructure to drive growth in medical tourism
Spain's healthcare system was ranked as the seventh best in the world by the World Health Organization.
The country attracts a huge number of medical tourists annually due to its advanced medical technology, low treatment costs and improved healthcare infrastructure. The country is particularly popular for cosmetic surgery, obesity surgery, eye surgery, dental care, organ transplants and neurosurgery.
According to the ranking published by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) in April 2012, of the top 10 Spanish hospitals four are in Barcelona, four are in Madrid and the remaining two are in Valencia and Pamplona.
Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona ranks first, followed by the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid and the Hospital Clinic, also in Barcelona.
The ease and low cost of travelling to Spain is also a key reason for the growth of medical tourism. Prospects for medical tourism in the country are expected to remain strong over the forecast period.
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