THE tourism industry is now the biggest employer in Spain.
Figures show more than 2.65 million people – 2.17 million waged workers and 483,861 private contractors – were employed in the sector this spring.
This represents 13.7% of Spain’s working population (19.34 million people), meaning tourism has overtaken construction as the top employer in the country.
In fact, a whopping 75.5% of the country’s working population are employed in a service-related job.
However despite the booming tourism sector, wages have remained stagnant.
Hospitality employees were paid an average of €9.32 an hour in the first semester of 2018, while construction workers received €11.73 an hour.
Catalunya welcomes the highest number of tourists in Spain, with 19 million foreigners and five million Spaniards visiting the region last year, according to the INE.
It is also the region that employs the greatest number of tourism workers, with 457,944 people employed in the sector in the second quarter of this year.
Sunny Andalucia comes in second place with 433,853 workers – a 7.5% increase upon last year’s figures from the same period.
Although Madrid receives fewer visitors than the Balearic and Canary Islands, it has more people working in tourism – 400,000 compared to 169,000 and 244,000, respectively.