As last year barely limped over the finish line, one could be forgiven for worrying what further misery lies in store in 2017. And while in many parts of the world the omens for stability and prosperity do not look good, it is a different story in Spain.
While it’s true that a few years back, Spain did endure a tougher time than most, ever since the tail-end of 2013, things have picked up steadily, with last year a record-breaker in terms of job creation and tourism figures, while most other metrics were unstintingly positive, too.
Which all bodes well for 2017, as experts drawn from a number of industries re-gather their predictions and look at Spain not as the poor man of Europe, but as one of its shining stars.
So with that in mind, here are three trends to look out for in 2017…
Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by around 3.2% in 2016, and most economists reckon that it will again top 3% this year. If that doesn’t sound a lot, then bear this in mind: 3% growth would put Spain in the top five nations in Europe in terms of economic performance, beating out France and Germany. This in turn is helping job creation, with Spain able to bring its levels of unemployment below 19% at the end of 2016 – the lowest since 2009.
More homes, more hotels
Construction accounted for 10% of Spain’s GDP last year, so if GDP grows, it follows that there will be more active construction across the country. And while the giddy and unsustainable home-building peaks of 2007 – when around a million new homes were built – are unlikely to ever be scaled again, analysts forecast that Spain could soon be building close to 400,000 new homes a year, with potentially as many as 200,000 new properties built this year. As for commercial real estate, CBRE predicts that more than €10 billion will be investedin the development of new offices, hotels and resorts in Spain in 2017.
Record-breaking tourist numbers, again
The final end-of-year data for 2016 has not quite yet been calculated, but all indications point to last year being the best ever for Spain in terms of visitor numbers, with more than 75 million tourists estimated to have holidayed in the country. This is not only a record, but also means that Spain is the world’s most visited country. It’s easy to see why: the sun, sea, sand and sangría aside, Spain is accessible, affordable, varied, and has so far escaped the terrors thrust upon France, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey in the form of violent attacks. Long may this continue. In 2017, it certainly will, with the Confederation of Spanish Travel Agencies (CEAV) tentatively expecting Spain to break the 80 million-mark for visitors this year, and to do so with a more even spread across the year. That being said, finding a spare hotel room in Barcelona in July is likely to prove difficult this year, such is the city’s enduring popularity.