Palma’s new convention centre is going to be open soon. | miquel a. ca

Business tourism had an economic impact of almost 4.4 billion euros for Spain in 2014, representing a 9% increase over the previous year, according to a study by The Ostelea Business School of Tourism & Hospitality. Of this amount, 31% corresponds to the sales by companies involved in conference organisation, while 69% is due to the volume generated by other related sectors. Spain received a total of 4.31 million business tourists last year or 6.6% of the total, representing a 6% increase over 2013. In 2008, however, the number of tourists visiting Spain on business was 5.2 million, 20.6% more than in 2014.

According to the study, the 17.1% decline in the inflow of business tourists has only resulted in a 3.6% decline in the overall impact on the sector. In terms of total spending by business travellers arriving in Spain, the figure reached 4.273 billion euros, remaining almost flat, with an average spending of 990 euros or a decline of 4.9%.

The average stay shortened from 8.6 days in 2008 to an average of 6.1 days in 2014. According to the Ostelea study, business tourism represented 6.8% of total spending by tourists arriving in Spain in 2014 and 7.2% in 2013. In contrast, spending by Spanish business travellers accounted for 3.6% of the European total. Spaniards spent more than 2 billion euros on business trips in 2014, compared to 23 billion by the Germans or 10 billion by the French.

In 2014, some 7% of Spanish international travel was business-related, but the EU average stands at 12% for the same year. The average stay by Spaniards on their international business trips was 4.44 days, 11% more than in 2013, compared with the EU average of 3.49 days.

Last year, Spain remained in third place in the world rankings among the countries hosting international conventions over the 2008 to 2014 period, and second only to the US and Germany.