Spanish Castle (Business Travel) Magic?

In the Jimi Hendrix song referenced in the title of this post, it takes about half a day traveling by dragonfly to get to Spain. Luckily for business travelers, there are many more comfortable options for traveling to and from Spain than insects. Indeed, it is expected that total business travel spending in Spain will top out at $20.7 billion this year with growth expected to continue next year as well, according to the most recent Western Europe BTI Report sponsored by Visa.

Spain is helping ensure that the recent gains in business travel are occurring throughout Europe and not confined to a handful of the bigger Northern economies. Total growth in business travel in Spain for 2016 and 2017 is expected to be 6.5 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. Spain’s overall economy, by comparison, is only expected to grow 2.7 percent in 2016 and 2.3 percent in 2017.

Several factors – including low borrowing rates, new structural reforms and robust domestic demand, driven by increased purchasing power and improvement in labor market conditions – are driving Spain’s growth. Spain’s interest rates also continue to remain at historic lows, providing consumers and corporations cost savings in travel-related goods and services.

While Spain is expected to see continued growth, the U.K.’s recent vote to leave the E.U. could harm Spain’s banking sector leading to a domino effect for the rest of the economy. Wells Fargo Securities recently reported that Spain’s bank claims on British households, businesses and the government represent 16 percent of the total assets of the Spanish banking system.

Despite the threat that Brexit poses to Spain, the overall picture for the nation’s business travel remains healthy. Spending on domestic business travel accounts for nearly 80 percent of all business travel in Spain. Domestic business travel is expected to grow at 7.0 percent in 2016 and 4.3 in 2017.

While Spain’s international outbound business travel sector has seen declines in the earlier part of the decade, the market started to see a rebound in 2014 – a rebound that is projected to continue with growth of 4.7 percent and 7.9 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Spain’s professional football teams – primarily Barcelona and Real Madrid – are the envy of Europe, if not the world. While their economy and their business travel market might not inspire quite the same level of admiration, they will continue to see positive growth in the coming years.