What impact does green transition in transport sector have on international tourism in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson
green transition
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The cost of the green transition being implemented by the transport sector could impact international tourism in Spain by increasing costs, according to the Bank of Spain’s report ‘The recovery of international tourism in Spain after the pandemic’. 

The bank stresses that Spain has a ‘relevant’ appeal as a tourist destination. This is thanks to its perception as a safe destination and the quality of its infrastructure. But in the medium term, international tourism in Spain, which is ‘highly dependent on air transport’, could be affected by rising costs caused by the green transition within the EU. For example, by increasing the price of air travel to offset CO2 emissions. 

Long-haul tourism and business travel 

Experts say these potential effects could have a greater impact on long-haul tourism. Because this is’where the weight of spending on air travel is high’. The number of tourists from Asia is “still far from pre-pandemic levels. Also, the green transition could  affect certain segments of business travel, ‘as companies could limit this type of travel to reduce the carbon footprint of their activity’.  

Relevant appeal of Spain 

Despite these sources of uncertainty, the Bank of Spain believes that Spain has ‘relevant appeal’ as a tourist destination. This is thanks to its perception as a ‘safe destination’ and the quality of its infrastructure. However, investment and renovation and improvement of tourist areas are needed, ‘especially in the most saturated and mature areas’. The Bank of Spain stresses that tourism revenue growth can still be strengthened. For example, by making tourism more attractive which also increases average spending. 

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This objective requires improving the quality of services, enhancing Spain’s attractiveness as a destination for business, urban and cultural tourism, and adapting to a demand that is increasingly via digital media and focused on more personalised, experiential tourism with a greater commitment to environmental sustainability. 

Revenue from tourism 

Revenue from tourism is back to pre-crisis levels. This is partly due to attracting more tourists with higher spending capacity. Furthermore, this is evidenced by the increase in the relative weight of higher-quality hotel accommodation. Nevertheless, expectations for the coming months remain cautious, given the uncertainty caused by the deteriorating economic outlook and rising inflation. 

Moreover, the long-term development of international tourism will be determined by the industry’s ability to maintain the capacity to attract tourists with a higher spending profile. This calls for continued improvement, higher quality and diverse offerings.  

Also read: TUI and Spanish oil company join forces to fly greener


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