Business tourism boom: Spain’s corporate travel sector bounces back from pandemic

businesspeople at a table for a FITUR business travel conference.

In-person business meetings are here to stay according to a business travel report. Photo credit: FITUR (via Facebook)

SPAIN’S business travel industry has experienced a remarkable surge according to a report released on Friday, May 12, doubling its revenue in 2022 and setting its sights on surpassing pre-pandemic figures in 2023.

The business travel barometer report by Braintrust for the Spain Convention Bureau estimates a revenue total of more than €12.1 billion for 2023.

The report, backed by corporate travel industry experts, declares that in-person meetings are here to stay, despite some companies’ continued preference for virtual and hybrid systems, thought to enhance connectivity, improve sustainability, and increase the overall value of events.

The report found that more than 80 per cent of business meetings are expected to return to in-person formats during 2023, with the country’s meeting spaces projected to have an average annual occupancy rate of more than 75 per cent.

The report also found that the average daily spending per business traveller reached €335 in 2022, surpassing the 2019 figure of €319. Although affected by inflation, the figure is still a valuable indicator of the sector’s pandemic recovery.

Business experts say that the report’s excellent findings are evidence of the value of corporate travel for the Spanish economy.

This promising outlook reveals that Spain is a top destination for business travel, due to its business opportunities, pleasant weather, excellent accommodation options, and straightforward connections with the rest of the world. Spain’s value for money coupled with plentiful expertise distinguishes it from contenders such as the UK as a business travel destination.

However, experts warn that the industry must innovate to continue attracting corporate travellers to the country, particularly as the “champagne effect” of returning to normality wears off.

The sector is also likely to face continuing problems including inflation, issues from geopolitical conflicts, and rising corporate costs.

The report suggested four key areas of improvement for the Spanish corporate travel sector to ensure than business tourism remains a powerful driver for the economy; fostering innovation and sustainability, embracing digital talent, improving marketing and brand image, and delivering personalised opportunities for companies.

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