Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism launches Spain’s 2014 Rural Tourism Plan

  • The Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism has released details on Spain’s 2014 Rural Tourism Plan, underlining how the sector will be supported to drive demand on a national and international basis.
  • The 2014 Rural Tourism Plan will also promote the ecotourism product within Spain’s network of national parks and Paradors and will develop a training platform for Spanish businesses on sustainable tourism practice.
  • The 2014 Rural Tourism Plan will be supported by an online marketing campaign in the UK, Germany and France, amongst other key markets.

Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria has presented Spain’s comprehensive 2014 Rural Tourism Plan with the objective of promoting this sector which, with more than 15,000 tourism establishments, almost 140,000 beds accommodating 2.5 million tourists and accounting for 6.9 million room nights in 2013, contributes to Spain’s geographic diversification, adds value to Spain’s natural and cultural heritage and generates more than 21,000 direct job posts.

The primary objectives of Rural Tourism Plan 2014 are to provide a regulative structure for rural tourism to facilitate the development of the sector both commercially and from a promotional perspective, as well as improving the positioning of Spain and increasing international demand. In order to achieve this, a double pronged strategy has been developed, focusing both on the supply and demand of the rural tourism sector.

From a supply point of view, the 2014 Rural Tourism Plan highlights the promotion of the ecotourism product within Spain’s network of National Parks, as well as creating a sustainable tourism training programme for businesses. To drive demand, the marketing efforts will focus on an online campaign which will reach 17 key markets and will encompass over 187 marketing activities to support the commercial positioning of the sector, as well as highlighting the campaign through Spain’s tourism website

A quality initiative

To ensure a standardised quality level within the rural tourism offering, a green star rating initiative has been developed with five categories. Spain’s Tourism Conference, which took place in April 2013 and was attended by Tourism Minister José Manuel Soria, highlighted the strengths of this new classification system to distinguish the quality level of the tourism outlet and create a more efficient promotional and commercial platform on a national and international level.

Spain’s protected natural space

Spain has more protected natural space than any other country in Europe, and is third in the world with 15 million hectares, equivalent to 30% of Spain’s total surface area.  The 2014 Rural Tourism Plan will underline the strength of this offering through the aforementioned projects and will place emphasis on the diversification of Spain’s tourism offering, which has traditionally been focused on the coastal areas.  The plan will challenge the traditional coastal concentration of tourism in a few selected Spanish regions in order to raise the profile of other areas where a consolidated rural tourism offer already exists, such as the case of Castilla y León that accounts for 22% of the 140,000 beds within the rural tourism sector.

International markets

Improving the positioning of Spain as a rural tourism destination is a key part of the plan to address the current imbalance of demand between Spanish residents and international visitors in the sector, which sits at 75% and 25% respectively.  Germany is the strongest inbound market for the rural tourism, accounting for 37% of the total international demand, followed by the UK (18%), France (13%) and the Netherlands (9%).

Online promotion

As well as maximising exposure through the nature tourism link of the official Spanish webpage where rural tourism companies can promote and commercialise their products, 2014 Rural Tourism Plan will be promoted via the network of 33 Spanish tourism offices and will include 187 promotional activities in 17 countries, focused predominantly on Europe and in the USA.

A demographic study looking at international demand carried out by Turespaña has highlighted the potential of this sector, particularly within Europe. Initially the emphasis will be focused on the more mature European tourism markets with key attributes including the sector’s scenery, the environment and surroundings, nature and the competitive pricing structure as well as the favourable climate and the high quality of the accommodation.

The 2014 Rural Tourism Plan will be carried out in the following markets: Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ireland, the Nordic countries, France, Portugal, Italy, the United States, Canada and Argentina.

The 2014 Rural Tourism Plan stretches across all of Spain’s autonomous regions, with more than 60% of the product concentrated in regions which typically see lower international demand, including Castilla & Leon, Galicia, Extremadura, Asturias, Navarra, Cantabria. Aragón, La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha and the Basque Country.


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