Best of Best!N Travel 2022

When we Spaniards think about our relationship with tourism, we keep in mind that our country is a world-class destination. It is logical: Spain has been, for years, among the top three countries in receiving tourists, competing with France and the United States. Just before the pandemic, in 2019, we broke our record in international tourist arrivals for the seventh consecutive year, with 83.7 million visitors who spent a total of 92,278 million euros, also an all-time high. 2022 has not yet ended, but the figures point to a rapid recovery of those figures, once the virus has been neutralized.

Tourism redefines space, modifies it with new uses and cultural connotations. If tourism represents more than 12% of Spanish GDP, its weight in shaping the idea of ​​Spain outside our borders is simply essential. Ever since romantic English and French travelers discovered Spain in the 19th century, we know well that our international image is the impression visitors get of us. That’s why it’s so important to take care of it.

Spain, our favorite destination

However, this boom (product of a cocktail of good beaches, interesting monuments, modern infrastructures, security and competitive prices) has gone hand in hand with another that we don’t usually pay so much attention to: our exponential development as tourists, as travelers. We Spaniards move as much or more than any society around us and it is not difficult to return from Paris, Amsterdam or Berlin with the feeling that we are a plague. A friendly pest, that is. In the same way that French, Dutch or German “invade” our country, especially in summer. Cross displacements that move people and, with them, economic growth, fashions, prejudices, trends and even personal relationships.

In all this coming and going, we cannot ignore one fact: the preferred destination of the Spanish… is Spain itself. More than 90% of our tourist trips, according to the INE, are made within our own country. This is a piece of information that photographs a radical transformation: not so long ago, traveling around our country –little equipped until the 50s and 60s, when the boom tourist – was almost an adventure of anthropological interest deserving of chronicles like the ones Cela wrote about his numerous routes. In fact, the recent history of our modernization could be summed up in two milestones led by the Nobel Prize winner: between “El viaje a la Alcarria”, written in 1948, and the Campsa Guide, launched in 1988 with television spots that we still remember with nostalgia. (More porridge, Don Camillo?), averages a whole world.

What do we Spanish value when traveling? What attracts us to a destination? X-raying our profile as tourists is the object of the Forbes Spain study presented at the conference Summit Reinventing Cantabria in Santander on November 29, based on a Sigma Dos survey of more than 1,145 Spaniards. According to this study, Spaniards seek to visit interesting cities and towns in the first place (16.9%), enjoy the landscapes and the natural environment, in second place (12%) and, in third place, the good weather (10%). . Somewhat further behind are aspects such as the price of the trip or the quality of the beaches.

In addition, three out of four Spaniards affirm that when choosing a tourist destination they take great care and concern for the environment. If climate change or policies that are not respectful of the environment end up eroding the landscape, tourists will move away, looking for more climatically and environmentally friendly destinations. I hope this doesn’t happen.

Elena de Agustin Perez.

The report has a special section for Cantabria, where it was presented. The Cantabrians, aware of the landscape and natural capital they possess -a true jewel- are even more aware than the rest of the Spaniards about the need to preserve this heritage. The challenge is to combine this respect for the environment with the development of infrastructures, especially transport, which tourism requires: 87% of those interviewed in Cantabria agree that an improvement in means of transport is essential to improve tourism and innovation.

Spain is a small continent, so it is logical that, while a growing number of Spaniards want to travel to Cantabria in the coming years (one in four), the Cantabrians prioritize visiting Andalusia and the Canary Islands. Is there a better way to structure such a diverse country that faces the United Kingdom from the Bay of Biscay, and Africa from the south?


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Best of Best!N Travel 2022