ISSN 2330-717X

Spain: Sports Tourism Generated 2.44 Billion Euros In 2018, Up 10% From Previous Year


Sports related tourism has established its position as one of the economic drivers in Spain, generating 2.44 billion euros in 2018, 10% up on 2017. The figures are taken from the Annual of Sports-Related Statistics published this week by the Ministry of Culture and Sport.

According to the figures in the Annual, tourists resident in Spain spent 1.03 billion euros on sport-related trips, compared with 957 million in 2017. Sports tourists from abroad spent 1.41 billion euros, compared with 1.26 billion the previous year. This confirms the growing trend of recent years.

In terms of the number of movements, 4.1% of all trips made for leisure, recreational or holiday purposes by residents in Spain were chiefly motivated by sport. Arrivals of foreign visitors amounted to 1.5 million, 2% of all sports trips made.

The number of elite sportsmen and sportswomen increases by 6.5%

The number of sports licences also increased, by 2.8% on the previous year. As a result, the total number of licensed sportsmen and sportswomen now stands at 3.9 million. Associations representing 15 sports account for 79.5% of all the sports licences: football, basketball, hunting, golf, mountaineering and climbing, judo, handball, athletics, volleyball, tennis, cycling, karate, padel, swimming and skating. Over half of these licences (53.6%) are held in four autonomous regions (Andalusia, Catalonia, the Region of Valencia and the Region of Madrid). 

The Annual shows that the number of sports clubs increased in 2018 to 67,512, a rise of 0.7% on the previous year.  The number of elite sportspeople also increased, by 6.5% to 4,962. Of these, 3,114 were men (62.8%) and 1,848 were women (37.2%).

Spanish sportsmen and sportswomen won 821 medals last year at international competitions, compared with 804 in 2017; and 473 Spanish records were broken. Athletics accounts for 22.2% of this total; sport for the intellectually disabled, 19.2%; sport for the visually impaired, 16.7%; and swimming, 14.6%.

Sports-related workers have higher than average educational levels

Data from the Annual indicate that in 2018 over 214,000 people worked in jobs linked to the world of sport. This figure accounts for 1.1% of total jobs. Once more this year, people working in jobs related to sports had a higher than average educational background. The proportion of sports-related workers with a higher education qualification was greater than the national average, at 51.6% compared with 42.9%.

The number of companies whose main economic activity is sport rose in Spain to 34,529 at the start of 2018, accounting for 1% of all companies. The results confirm the growing trend of recent years. As is the case with companies as a whole, over half are located in the regions of Andalusia (14.7%), Catalonia (17.3%), the Region of Valencia (10.4%) and the Region of Madrid (15%).

Spanish people spend an average of 123 euros on sport

Spanish households spent an average of 307.2 euros on sport in 2017, 15% more than in 2016, when the average was 267 euros. The average spending per person grew in 2017 by 15% to 123.4 euros, compared with 107.1 euros in 2016.

Overall, in 2017 Spanish people spent 5.69 billion euros on sport, accounting for 1.1% of total household spending on goods and services, compared with 4.92 billion in 2016. Recreational and sports services were the most significant spending item.

Spending per person was above the average in 10 regions: Aragon, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, the Region of Valencia, the Region of Madrid, the Region of Murcia, Navarre and the Basque Country.

Increased participation in university and school championships

Data from the Annual show that participation in the final phases of the Spanish University Championships and the Spanish School Championships increased by over 350 athletes compared with 2017.

A total of 3,853 sportsmen and sportswomen (56.4% male and 43.6% female) took part in the university championships and 6,975 (50.8% male and 49.2% female) in the school championships.

The Annual of Sports-Related Statistics includes a selection of the most relevant sports statistics for 2017/18 to provide an overview the current situation and trends in the sport sector in Spain.

The study includes data on sports-related jobs, teaching and tourism, as well as specific information on aspects such as sports associations and championships.

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