Tourists from China increased by 420% in the first half of 2023

Tourists from China increased by 420% in the first half of 2023

Tourists from China increased by 420% in the first half of 2023. Image: Urbanscape /

The Tourism Institute of Spain (Turespaña) has published its files of tourist-sending markets corresponding to the second quarter of 2023.

The analysis of the 19 countries studied which includes 15 European, three Asian (China, Japan and South Korea) and one American (United States) reveals the consolidation of the United Kingdom, Germany and France as the main source markets of tourists to Spain, the intense rebound in the Asian market, led by China, and the strong rebound in the United States.

For the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez, “the recovery of the Asian market, mainly tourists from China, is excellent news for our tourism. In 2023, with the incorporations this summer, we will recover 80 per cent of the pre-pandemic connections, and 2024 will surely be the year of full consolidation of this market, which is so important for our country”.

The number of tourists from China has increased by 420 per cent in the first half of 2023 and spending by 592 per cent, compared to the same period of the previous year, according to data estimated by Turespaña based on INE microdata.

Due to the strong restrictions imposed by the Government of the Asian country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentages of both growth and spending were relatively low in 2022 compared to other countries, which has had an impact on the strong figures of growth this year. Currently, there are no restrictions on the arrival of Chinese tourists, and the country’s authorities only require an antigen test for the return.

In addition, Spain is once again a tourist destination qualified as Approved Destination Status (which includes the countries to which China allows group travel).

The other two major Asian countries that send tourists to Spain have also experienced great growth this semester. The flow of tourists from South Korea has increased by 258.4 per cent and spending by 215 per cent, always compared to the same semester of the previous year. Japan also continues to show very high growth figures (200 per cent in arrivals and 134 per cent in spending), as it did in 2022, according to data estimated by Turespaña based on INE microdata.

Of the countries analysed by Turespaña, the increase in visitors from the United States stands out among those from the American continent. The arrival of tourists of this nationality has increased by 54.7 per cent compared to the first semester of 2022.

In addition, the total expenditure of tourists from the US experienced a growth of 61 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“The US market is of capital importance for our tourism sector. Its progressive and notable recovery speaks highly of Spain’s ability to generate tourism proposals that aspire to excellence. We are a safe, sustainable and modern destination that the American tourist, with high purchasing power and high-quality standards, chooses as one of the favourite countries to enjoy their holidays in Europe. That is a victory for the country”, confirmed Héctor Gómez.

In addition, he pointed out that “the American is a very interesting tourist who spends significantly more than the average in other markets and opts for local experiences, such as culture or gastronomy. Therefore, he is a more seasonally adjusted tourist than the one who comes more focused on the months of sun and beach .”

The United Kingdom, Germany and France continue to be the major countries that send tourists to Spain.

The United Kingdom is at the head of the three. In the accumulated the first six months of the year, the British market is the first market both in tourist spending, contributing 18 per cent of the total, and inflow of tourists, 20.7 per cent of the total.

In this semester, visitors from the United Kingdom have increased by 19.8 per cent compared to 2022 and have spent 16 per cent more.

Germany, for its part, is in second place in spending (12.7 per cent this semester compared to 2022) and in third place in visitors (12.9 per cent). Regarding growth, tourists arriving from

Germany has increased by 10.8 per cent this first semester compared to the same period of the previous year and has also spent 12 per cent more.

Regarding France, it is the third market in tourism spending (after the United Kingdom and Germany), contributing 7.9 per cent of the total, and the second country in tourist flow (13 per cent of all those who come). The arrival of French tourists has also experienced remarkable growth in the first half of the year, 23.3 per cent more, as has spending, which has increased by 24 per cent.

In the accumulated of 2023, Portugal shows significant growth compared to 2022, both in the flow of tourists (+27.1 per cent) and, above all, in spending (+47.4 per cent). Spain is the first destination of the Portuguese abroad and the first recipient country of their spending.

Another interesting market is the Netherlands. The data for Dutch arrivals in Spain in 2022, with more than 3.9 million, far exceeds the 3.6 million in 2019, which shows a complete recovery of this issuing market towards Spain after the pandemic. And in the first six months, the data continues to grow compared to the same period in 2022, both in the flow of tourists (+0.5 per cent) and in spending (+3.7 per cent).

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.