Information about business in Spain and Spain’s economy, including Spain’s business outlook and key business opportunities and pitfalls.
With a dynamic European economy characerized by strong economic growth, Spain is the world's ninth largest economy and is responsible for half the new jobs created in the European Union recently.To put it simply,
November 2010 update: Since this article was originally published in December 2007, the world’s economy has taken a substantial turn for the worse and business has gone down across the board. Spain has been no exception. Spain’s enviable growth rate of a few years ago has gone down to half of what it was and is now on par with the rest of Europe. Like other nations, Spain’s demand is down, unemployment is up, and uncertainty abounds; Spain is not immune to the inevitable boom and bust cycles of capitalism. However, the euro is still strong, Spain is still a good bet, and the show must go on. For those ready to do business, there are still a plethora of opportunities to be found in Spain.With a dynamic European economy characerized by strong economic growth, Spain is the world’s ninth largest economy and is responsible for half the new jobs created in the European Union recently. Doing business in Spain provides ample opportunities to target Spain’s 44.7 million resident consumers, to take advantage of Spain’s modern infrastructure and to create a strategic base for pursuing Latin American and other European markets. Previously dubbed the “Spanish miracle”, Spain’s economy and Spanish business are still riding high, though not without a potential Achilles heel or two to watch out for. Spain’s Economy
For exporting to Spain, contact your local embassy’s Commerical Section in SpainKey Spanish Industries Tourism and construction are two of Spain’s most important industries today. As the world’s second most popular tourist destination (after France but ahead of the US), Spain receives 60 million foreign tourists annually, a figure that is expected to grow 5% each year. That means that as of right now 135% of Spain’s entire population comes to visit the country for a few days each year, and rising. Spain receives the world’s second largest revenue from tourism (after the US but ahead of France). Tourists in Spain spend an average of €856 per stay, or €92 per day, and are mainly of British, German, French or Italian nationality. With over 25% of Spain’s foreign tourists heading for Catalunya, Catalunya is clearly Spain’s most popular tourist destination. Spain’s second, third and fourth most popular centers of tourism are the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Andalucía, respectively. The relative warmth of Spain’s climate and the quality of its geography (beaches, rivers, rural areas, etc.) play a large part in Spain’s allure, but tourists are also attracted to Spain’s wide variety of cultural and gastronomic offerings. In fact, Spain boasts 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, surpassed only by Italy with 41. Construction and home-building, as well as the associated real estate market, have been important economic impetuses for Spain. In fact, 715,000 housing units were built in 2005. Construction currently represents over 16% of Spain’s GDP and employs 12% of the Spanish workforce. A large percentage of current construction is dedicated to building holiday homes or second homes for affluent Spanish and foreign buyers. Not surprisingly, talk of an impending housing market crash is worrisome. Spain’s other important industries include manufacturing, clothing and footwear, food and beverages, and medical equipment. Spanish Business Infrastructure As a modern, highly developed nation, Spain’s infrastructure is well-equipped to handle the demands of international commerce. Madrid and Barcelona are Spain’s major transportation hubs, but transportation networks throughout the country are extensive. 47 airports, 53 sea ports, almost 17,000 km of train and high-speed train tracks and almost 700,000 km of highways and roads link Spain domestically and with the world. The modern Metro systems and extensive public transport of Spain’s major cities are fast and efficient. Spanish telecommunications networks are excellent and are relatively cheap to use. As I mentioned earlier, fast broadband Internet access is widely available to both commercial and residential subscribers. For the traveler, WI-FI hot spots are fairly common in cafes, hotels and other establishments, especially in the bigger cities. Event planning is one of the things the Spanish do best. As such, Spain’s year-round calendar of trade fairs, business events and exhibitions is extensive and the available facilities are top-notch. Trade fairs, business events and exhibitions are commonly held at the following sites: Ifema – Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I (Madrid), Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid (Madrid), Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo (Madrid), Fira de Barcelona (Barcelona), Barcelona International Convention Centre (Barcelona), Fira de Cornellà (Barcelona), Palau de Congressos de Catalunya (Barcelona), Feria de Zaragoza (Zaragoza), Feria Valencia (Valencia), Valencia Conference Centre (Valencia), Bilbao Exhibition Centre (Bilbao), Institución Ferial Alicantina (Alicante), Feria de Valladolid (Valladolid) and Instituto Ferial de Vigo (Vigo). Business Resources for Spain Business-related articles: Business Etiquette in Spain Start a Business in Spain Companies in Spain: The Types of Business Entities for Companies in Spain Sworn Translations in Spain Start a Bar in Spain Make a Living in Spain Trade fair, business event and exhibition spaces: Ifema – Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I (Madrid) Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid (Madrid) Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo (Madrid) Fira de Barcelona (Barcelona) Barcelona International Convention Centre (Barcelona) Fira de Cornellà (Barcelona) Palau de Congressos de Catalunya (Barcelona) Feria de Zaragoza (Zaragoza) Feria Valencia (Valencia) Valencia Conference Centre (Valencia) Bilbao Exhibition Centre (Bilbao) Institución Ferial Alicantina (Alicante) Feria de Valladolid (Valladolid) Instituto Ferial de Vigo (Vigo) Investment: Interes: Invest in Spain – Information on investing in Spain and services for foreign investors Exports: Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade / Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior (ICEX) – Export information and services for Spanish companies (See Start a Business in Spain for information on starting a Spanish company) For exporting to Spain, contact your local embassy’s Commerical Section in Spain
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