Nearly 18 million tourists visited Catalonia in 2016
The Spanish region of Catalonia welcomed more 17.9 million foreign visitors in 2016, spending some €17,328 million – an increase of 12.8 per cent.
The region has been the top destination for foreign tourists in Spain with more than 23.8 per cent of the total visits to the country, followed by the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
The United Kingdom is the second largest source market for tourism in Catalonia, with more than two million British tourists visiting in 2016, a 6.9 per cent growth compared to 2015. Spending by British visitors in 2016 totalled €1.6 billion (up 9.4 per cent), representing one of the strongest years recorded since 2005. The average spend per tourist increased by 2.7 per cent compared with 2015, reaching €798, while the average daily spend per tourist was €138, increasing a 2.3 per cent.
Known worldwide for its exceptional culinary scene, Catalonia celebrated the Year of Gastronomy in 2016 following the award of European Region of Gastronomy 2016, and it has reaffirmed its position as one of the leading gastronomic destinations in the world.
The Catalan Tourist Board has declared 2017 the Year of Sustainable Tourism following the path of the United Nations, and will include sustainability as an overall value into its own tourist model, particularly focusing on areas such as ecotourism, nature tourism and accessible tourism.
The commitment and effort in actually making Catalonia a Sustainable Tourism destination has been going on for years and one of the main achievements has been the certification as Biosphere Destination in 2015, awarded by the Institute of Responsible Tourism.