Madrid, Barcelona and Benidorm are the three destinations with the greatest tourism relevance and social contribution in 2022, according to a ranking of 100 municipalities considered priority targets for tourism policies, compiled by Exceltur.
Madrid ranks first with 151,627 tourist accommodations, of which 61.9% are hotels, 8.1% key housing, campsites and rural tourism and 29.9% housing for tourism purposes (VUT). On a social level, the Spanish capital provides 72,912 jobs in tourism.
Barcelona, in second place, has a total of 126,633 beds, of which 69.1% are in hotels, 2.4% in flats and campsites and 28.5% in tourist flats, and has 47,143 people employed in tourism.
Benidorm, in turn, closes the podium with 93,390 tourist beds, half of which are in hotels, 36.8% in flats and campsites and 13.1% in tourist flats, with 15,787 tourist jobs.
The top 10 are completed by Santa Bartolomé de Tirajana, Salou, Adeje, Calviá, Marbella, Arona and Palma de Mallorca with more than 55,000 tourist beds.
In Exceltur’s ranking of the top 100 municipalities in terms of tourism, 56% of all tourist accommodation capacity is located here, while only 28% of the resident population lives here.
“These are the priority municipalities where stronger municipal leadership is needed to implement tourism planning and management within the framework of new governance systems and work lines that are better aligned with the new challenges of tourism and the global scenario for the new 2023-2027 legislature,” he stressed.
COASTAL DESTINATIONS ARE TOP PRIORITY
According to the organisation, coastal destinations justify the highest governmental priority due to the structural and competitive challenges they face and their great importance in the supply and demand of Spanish tourism.
The attractiveness of the diverse leisure tourism experiences associated with enjoying the coast explains why 81 of Spain’s 100 most popular destinations, in terms of the size of their accommodation market, are coastal resorts.
In fact, if the figure is extended to the top 500 destinations in the ranking, the number of coastal destinations is more than half, hosting three million tourist beds.
Of these Spanish coastal destinations, 193 are located on the Mediterranean coast, as well as in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, which belong to the so-called Spanish “sun and beach tourism” and host 54% of the total tourist offer, i.e. 2.8 million beds.
URBAN DESTINATIONS, BENCHMARKS
According to Exceltur, provincial, regional and autonomous capitals account for 16% of all tourism in Spain, with six cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Valencia and Málaga) in the top 20, leading the way in tourism job creation due to their status as major centres for leisure and business services, corporate headquarters and transport logistics.
“These are some cities that have already set standards and that must lead the way in the next changes in urban tourism management in Spain and serve as examples for the others,” the Alliance stressed.
In other words, to continue promoting the most differentiated, socio-economically profitable offer with the greatest impact and local added value, while taking measures to preserve the elements of identity and lifestyle of their most emblematic neighbourhoods and avoid displacing residents.
INLAND CITIES OFFER DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Exceltur has pointed out that certain inland destinations offer development opportunities given their still low presence in the Spanish tourism structure, with mountain destinations specialising in skiing and other sports and nature experiences standing out.
In their case, the main public-private challenge for these destinations is to analyse their socio-economic viability in advance in order to decide whether they should invest in the valorisation of their natural resources and cultural heritage and work together to transfer them to tourism markets.
All this is to help them first recognise the value of their resources and then, in many cases, overcome the lack of awareness of their existence, as well as to address the potential problems of seasonal demand, especially at weekends and during the summer season.