Turisme de Barcelona is embarking on a promotional tour to boost the confidence of the European market, which is Barcelona’s main inbound market, and one of the Catalan capital’s best-established mature markets.
The tour will visit six countries and ten cities where it will be presenting the destination’s new attractions and reconnecting with the leading agents and prescribers from the tourism sector who have been living with the consequences of the pandemic and travel restrictions for the past two years.
84% of tourists who visit Barcelona come from around the world, and 65% are from Europe (EU and other countries). These figures are confirmed year after year. According to the latest data, three out of every five Europeans are intending to travel in the first six months of 2022. More specifically, 66.3% of Europeans are planning on going on a trip within their own country or in Europe. The main reasons for travel are as follows: city breaks (15%), to enjoy the good weather, sun and beaches (15%), and culture and heritage (13%). Only 30% have specific plans in place, while the rest are still making their minds up, meaning that last-minute bookings are becoming more popular. The fact that the average age of visitors post-pandemic is younger (down from 36 to 30 on average) is the significant aspect of the current situation. According to the origins of the flights to Barcelona airport, the countries that travel most frequently to the city are France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The average length of stay has changed, from 4.8 days to 3.4. The highest-spending countries are Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
As far as the coming months are concerned, Google searches in the last week of February and the first week of March were high, and France was the European market that showed the most interest. In Europe, around 25% of searches for Barcelona were from the Spanish market, followed by France (2.3%), Italy (1.8%), the United Kingdom (1.4%) and Germany (1.4%).
28.5% of searches for accommodation performed in March for bookings in April were from Spain, followed by France (10.7%), the United Kingdom (9.3%), Germany (8.5%) and Italy (6.9%).
Turisme de Barcelona will be presenting itself to each market with a specific offer tailored to the country’s profile, ranging from culture and nature to shopping.
Turisme de Barcelona will be kicking off its tour in Germany, where it will be giving presentations to travel trade professionals, travel agents and other prescribers, as well as the general and specialised press in Frankfurt and Berlin. The German market ranks fifth in terms of tourist numbers, after visitors from Spain, France, the United States and Italy, with a 5% market share of total tourist numbers. Overall, Germany is a very important inbound market, coming third in the world rankings, after the United States and China, and operates non-stop flights with seven German cities. In 2021, 160,614 German tourists visited the city and represented 510,000 overnight stays in hotels. They are tourists who know the city: 55.8% are repeat visitors and 27.1% have visited more than four times. Most of them travel by plane (89.2%) and rate the city’s architecture, climate and culture the most highly.
In terms of spending, Germany ranks higher than average, with a total of approximately 340.8€ per person, per stay (average city spend: approximately 296.7€).
Turisme de Barcelona will be presenting itself next week in Germany with the younger market in mind (33 years of age) that already knows the destination. It will be showcasing a portfolio of new attractions focusing on culture and a wide range of recreational and nature activities across Catalonia, including wine tourism and sport.
The Moco Museum is one of the most important new visitor attractions that will be travelling with the consortium as a partner. This new modern and contemporary art venue in the Born neighbourhood opened this year following its success in the Netherlands. Literary Barcelona is another of the new features the consortium will be presenting to the German market, with the important Frankfurt Book Fair in mind. The city offers a number of literary trails as well as other cultural attractions, such as music. This year, Barcelona will be marking the 175th anniversary of the city’s opera house, the Liceu, and
commemorating the more than 23,800 performances it has hosted from 1847 to the agreement established with French railways, SNCF, for the Barcelona-Paris-Seville programme is particularly significant.
The shopping segment has become particularly important for the British market. Following Brexit, it has become one of the markets that benefit from tax free shopping. Turisme de Barcelona will be focusing on this aspect in its presentations in London and Manchester. The United Kingdom accounts for 3.6% of the market share (115,525 tourists in 2021). Visitors are young (aged 35), travel by plane (88.7%) and stay an average of five days. It is a market with high levels of spending (together with Germany and the Netherlands) averaging 329.1€ per stay. With this in mind, the consortium will be presenting the 200th anniversary of Passeig de Gràcia with its cultural and retail offer.
Turisme de Barcelona will be visiting the Italian cities of Milan and Rome in the second half of the year. It is a very important market and ranks second in terms of market share, after France, in hotel stays (5.3%). More than half (51.7%) are repeat visitors and most of them travel by plane or train. The average age of Italian visitors is under 30 and they stay for five days.
The Netherlands and Belgium
The tour will conclude at the end of the year with the Netherlands and Belgium (Amsterdam and Brussels). Both markets are well acquainted with the city. 67% of Dutch visitors have been to the city before. Most of them travel by plane (60%) but a considerable number also drive (11.0%). The average age is 31, they travel alone and spend 349.9 € per person during their stay (six days), making them the highest- spending nation among the six European destinations the consortium will be visiting.
The Belgian market is very small, and accounts for just 1.8% of the market share. However, Belgians travel frequently and are repeat visitors (58.9%) who like Barcelona (score of 8.55), travel as a couple and stay in hotels (63.3%).
Partners: Vueling and Moco
The tour is being undertaken with the support and assistance of two strategic partners in these markets: Vueling and Moco Museum.
Vueling is the leading airline at Barcelona airport and operates 62 European routes, covering 30 countries and 118 destinations. It currently flies to seven German cities, with fourteen flights to Berlin. The airport flies to seven cities in France and operates 30 flights to Paris. Vueling doubled the number of routes to the United Kingdom in 2019 and now operates 57 flights. Vueling runs seven flights to Manchester every week.
The Moco Museum is one of Barcelona’s new cultural attractions. It opened on Carrer Montcada in October last year at the height of the pandemic and has been very well received by locals and visitors alike. An independent and inclusive museum, which is an initiative of the Dutch collectors Lionel and Kim Logchies, it specialises in contemporary and modern art and showcases works by Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Banksy, Salvador Dalí, Haring and Murakami. Immersive digital art is also well represented and there is a space dedicated to the non-fungible token – NFT – phenomenon. Its aim is to exhibit works that
create experiences, fire the imagination, expand perspectives and question our surroundings. The Moco Museum in Amsterdam opened in 2016 and receives over two million visitors from more than 120 nationalities. It has become a gateway to the world of art for a mainly young audience who are making their first forays into art and museums present day. The visual arts and current museum exhibitions will focus on the celebration of Picasso Year in 2023 and the city’s tenure as the 2026 World Capital of Architecture.
The Barcelona of science and technology, sustainable Barcelona and the region’s wine tourism offer are other new additions that will complete the narrative for repeat visitors and target new profiles of value. The presentation will also focus on Turisme de Barcelona’s new Workation programme designed for digital nomads, a growing market, which is particularly important in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, with an age range of 24 to 34.
The tour dates continue in France, the first international market in terms of accommodation (14.3% of the share). In early June, the consortium will be visiting Lyon and Paris with the same presentations tailored to the profile of French visitors. They account for the highest visitor numbers to the Catalan capital (61.2% visit Barcelona again), have an interest in culture (score of 8.76) and architecture (score of 8.90) and travel by plane. However, unlike the German and British markets, French visitors are more inclined to travel by car (21.6%) and train (9%). In this regard, the co-marketing