Press Release 27/12/2016


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The weight of tourism in the Basque economy went from 5.4% of GDP in 2010 to 5.9% in 2015

Gipuzkoa had the highest tourist spending at 7.4% of GDP, followed by Bizkaia with 5.2% and Álava with 5.1% in 2015

Tourist spending in the Basque Country in 2015 stood at 4.100 billion euros, which meant a 5.9% contribution to GDP, five percentage points more than five years ago, according to Eustat data.

The upturn in tourist spending compared to the total for the economy has led to a progressive increase in the weight of tourism in the Basque economy. In 2015, growth in tourist spending reached 4.5%, above the 3% for the economy as a whole. In 2015, there was an increase in tourist spending on inbound tourism, i.e. spending in the Basque Country by tourists and day-trippers who come from abroad or the rest of Spain, as well as on other components of tourist spending, though it was higher for the former. This has meant that, for another year, the increase of the proportion of inbound tourism of overall spending increased to 51.4% in 2015, exceeding the other components of tourist spending. Specifically, between 2010 and 2015, the contribution of inbound tourism to total tourist spending increased by 4.1 percentage points.

Table 1. Contribution of tourism to the GDP of the Basque Country. Current Prices. Millons €. 2010-2015
Source: Eustat. Tourism satellite account

The other components of tourist spending, which include spending by tourists and day-trippers resident in the Basque Country, companies, and Basque public administrations in the Basque Country, also grew in 2015, but only by 3.1%. Their total contribution reached 48.6% in 2015, having decreased every year since 2010.

Within tourist spending, it is striking to note the importance of day-trips, which includes all tourist trips in which the traveller does not spend the night away from their usual residence, both of residents of the Basque Country and those from the rest of Spain and abroad. It is more significant in the Basque Country due to its proximity to France.

Although in 2015 the historical negative balance of tourism in the Basque Country fell by 2.7%, in the last five years it increased by 277 million euros

The Basque Country continues to stand out due to the importance of its outbound tourism (journeys and trips by Basque residents outside of the Basque Country) compared with inbound tourism (journeys and trips by non-residents within the Autonomous Region), which created a deficit of 2.221 billion euros, 3.2% of GDP in 2015. In the period 2010-2014, this balance had been reducing as a result of greater dynamism in inbound tourism and restrained spending by Basque people outside of the Basque Country; in 2015, however, it fell again, due to the rise in spending on outbound tourism.

Specifically, although 2015 was characterised by a stronger trend in inbound tourism, which grew 5.8%, as opposed to outbound tourism (4.2%), the negative tourism balance increased by 2.7% compared to the 2014 balance.

Balance of tourism flows of the Basque Country
Source: Eustat. Tourism satellite account

In all three territories, tourist spending increased in 2015

In terms of spending, Bizkaia represented 44.3% of the total in 2015, followed very closely by Gipuzkoa with 41.6%, and Álava, where spending made up 14.1% of the total. All three provinces saw an improvement compared with 2014, although it was greater in Bizkaia, with an increase of 5.3%; in Gipuzkoa the growth was 4.3% and in Álava it was 2.5%.

Gipuzkoa remains the province for which tourism acts as a driving force in the economy, despite the increased prominence of the other two territories. In 2015 tourist spending in Gipuzkoa represented 7.4% of its GDP, whilst in Bizkaia the same indicator rose to 5.2% (a historic high in both) and in Álava it was 5.1%.

Table 2: Contribution of tourism to the Basque economy by province and year, Absolute value and percentage on the GDP p.m. Current prices. Milion €. 2010-2015
Source: Eustat. Tourism satellite account

For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Instituto Vasco de Estadística C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: Tel: 945 01 75 62 Further press releases on the Tourism satellite account Databank of the Tourism satellite account

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The weight of tourism in the Basque economy went from 5.4% of GDP in 2010 to 5.9% in 2015

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