Brits lead the way in Spain’s tourism fight back

Record-breaking figures show Spain is back.

Tourism: On the up. Credit; 4 PM production/

Spain’s tourism industry continues its fight back with figures showing record-breaking arrivals three years after the outbreak of the pandemic.

Statistics show that 2019 was a record year for tourism in Spain. However, figures just in show that 7.2 million visitors arrived in April, which is a 1.2 per cent increase from four years ago, an upward trend that the government expects to continue, according to Nius, Friday, June 2.

And this is just the beginning, reliable estimates indicate that the summer will also surpass pre-pandemic levels with the arrival of 54.8 million tourists between May and October.

Following the pandemic, one of the main objectives to reactivate the economy was to recover the number of international tourists. However, due to successive waves of the disease, the travel restrictions that were maintained well into 2022 and the economic uncertainty following the Ukraine crisis, have all meant that this goal has had a few false starts.

Minister of Tourism, Héctor Gómez, said: ‘These are extraordinary figures that demonstrate, once again, that Spain is at the forefront of world tourism and that the tourism recovery is complete.’

At the forefront of visitors to Spanish shores is the UK, with 1.35 million Britons arriving in April, closely followed by Germany with one million. Both countries account for a third of the total. Third place goes to France with an increase of three per cent higher than in April 2019.

One of the biggest surprises is that of tourist arrivals from the United States. According to INE data, last month there was an increase of 24 per cent compared to four years ago. The figure is important because traditionally these are the travellers who spend the most while on holiday. In 2022, their average daily expenditure per person reached €266, compared to the average amount of €162.

April also saw a significant increase in visitors from the Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland, all of whom saw an increase in arrivals of over 20 per cent.

And another interesting shift was the increasing number of foreign visitors who stayed in hotels or tourist accommodations. Hotel stays were up by four per cent and other accommodations by six per cent.

Yesterday, Jorge Marichal, president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT) said: ‘The great news is that we have the recovery here and that the air travel sector, which is the most important for our country, is recovering.’

Thanks to the influx, the total spending is up and so is the average daily expenditure per tourist. According to figures by gathered by the INE, those who spent the most were from the United Kingdom, with €158,  followed by tourists from the Nordic countries, with a daily expenditure person of €157. At the bottom of the table, each French visitor spent €116 per day.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • M

      03 June 2023 • 13:33

      All well and good, however the fall out from the 90 day visiting rules for the UK are yet to come to light, there is pressure to renegotiate this so any Tourist visiting during easter holidays will be denied having a holiday in the EU come the Summer season!

    • David Candlish

      04 June 2023 • 12:53

      There is a Facebook group called ‘180 days in Spain’ trying to get the UK gov to reach a bilateral agreement with Spanish gov giving UK citizens equal rights to those of EU citizens arriving in UK, who can stay for 6 months without a visa. This would help UK citizens who own homes in Spain and allow for both Easter holidays and summer holidays

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