Tourism is now the most important source of employment in Spain, according to the findings of a survey by the Spanish Institute of Tourism (Turespaña). It found that 2.65m people were employed in the sector in spring.
This represents 13.7% of Spain’s working population, meaning tourism has overtaken construction as the top employer sector in the country.
As reported by the Spanish newspaper El País, employment in tourism has reached nearly the same level as employment in construction during Spain’s property boom.
But while tourism may have replaced construction as Spain’s main employment driver, it cannot compete when it comes to salaries. For instance, the average annual salary of a construction worker in 2008 was €20,706.7 – 48% more than the €14,000 received by an average hospitality worker.
Another factor to consider is that employment in the tourism sector is temporary due to its seasonal nature. Between April and May, 35.2% of all salaried workers in the industry were on a limited term contract.
According to El País, the seasonality of tourism means employment in the sector fluctuates greatly between summer and winter. In the first trimester of 2017, more than 2,660,915 people were working in the tourism sector; three months later that figure had dropped by 141,000 and by the first semester of 2018, there were 240,000 fewer workers.