Published 13/02/2012 by Carrie Frais

Catalunya: Tourist figures up; GSM Conference sets new record; Inditex consolidates its presence in the region

Foreign tourist figures for 2011 have shown an increase of nearly 11% on 2010, according to the Spanish Institute of Statistics. Last year, almost 10 million foreigners came to Catalunya, although the number of Spanish tourists was down.

Catalan hotels registered a new tourist record for overnight stays (48.029.385), with almost half of  them taking place from June to September. Altogether, last year 16.5 million tourists visited Catalunya, coming from abroad and the rest of Spain.

Overnight stays increased by more than 2.7 million compared to 2010. Barcelona, after Madrid, is the second destination within Spain for volume of overnight stays. The Catalan capital had more than 16 million overnight stays last year, 7.2% more than in 2010.

The visitor increase hints at a positive trend in the growth of tourism after the crises of 2008/9.

In addition, the Port of Barcelona is once again the European leader in the number of transported passengers in 2011, according to data released by the Spanish Ministry of Transport. 2,642,493 people passed through the Catalan capital’s port in 2011, which represents a 12.69% increase compared to 2010. Barcelona is among the world’s top 5 ports.

The annual Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, set a new record in 2012, attracting 67 thousand participants, up 11% on 2011. The world’s main trade fair and conference on cell phone services and related technology, took place between February 27th until March 1st at the Fira in Plaza España.  More companies than ever before displayed their products and came from a variety of sectors including healthcare and finance. As a result, the Catalan economy has been boosted by more than 300 million Euros, 25 million Euros more than in 2010. It is expected the MWC will bring a total of 3.5 billion Euros to the Catalan economy until 2018. Next year`s event will move to the Gran Via venue due to its increased popularity. Barcelona will also host the Mobile World Hub, in the  technological district 22@ in Poble Nou, which will provide advice to companies, assist start-ups and organize activities worldwide.

The Spanish clothing company Massimo Dutti is relocating to the Catalan coastal town of Tordera where it will have its world headquarters and also the most technically advanced warehouse in Europe. Massimo Dutti is owned by the retail multinational giant Inditex, which also owns Zara, Zara Home, Pull&Bear, Bershka, Oysho, among other brands.

The new office will create jobs in administration, design, and information technology.  Inditex set up in Tordera 10 years ago, as a distributor for Massimo Dutti, Oysho and Bershka. The new office will be 30,000 square metres and located just in front of the new distribution warehouse. Construction work is expected to begin immediately and the warehouse is expected to open in the Spring.

In 2011, the Lucas Fox Barcelona Office saw a sharp rise in enquiries about commercial and investment property. This is due to a growth in the number of small businesses and start-ups and also because Barcelona continues to attract professionals willing to relocate for work due its label as Europe’s Number One city in terms of quality if life for employees. Among the International companies based or with offices here are General Electric, Citibank, Avis, Transcom, HP/Deloitte, Colt and Sietel.

For business, Barcelona makes sense as a commercial hub as it has a steady stream of access to international clients, potential customers and industry markets. With the largest number of conference attendance goers in the world, and the second largest number of international business, there is ready access to global markets as business leaders regularly flow through the city to attend corporate events.

Lucas Fox has a wide range of commercial property for sale available. Here are a selection in Barcelona:


Find out what your property could be worth with a free valuation request from a member of our experienced property advisory team.

Free property valuation

Get the Lucas Fox property newsletter for exclusive news, insight and analysis

Join mailing list Join mailing list