Spain received 10.1 million foreign tourists up until March, which means an increase of 7.2% in comparison with the same time period from the year before with around 667,000 additional tourists, according to the Border Tourist Movement Survey and released recently by the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism.
These numbers confirmed the data put out at the start of the month in the Coyuntur report regarding the first trimester of 2014 in which an increase of foreign demand was estimated, while the final growth is actually 0.7 percentage points less than estimated in the said study, which saw an increase of 7.9%.
In March, 3.9 million international tourists visited the country with an increase of 0.7% in relation to the same month in 2013.
In this period, almost all the main countries sending tourists contributed to this growth, especially France, which experienced an increase of 11.5% and 1.6 million visitors, making itself the third most relevant market.
The United Kingdom, the main market for Spain, registered a recovery of 4.7% in the first trimester, up to 1.9 million tourists and 19.2% of the total entries.
It was followed by Germany which took 16.2% of total arrivals and experienced a growth of 6.2%, up to 1.6 million visitors.
The Nordic Countries, the fourth most important market, increased 7.8% in the three first months of 2014, up to 1.2 million visitors; this is the same as Italy which grew 9% (545,892 tourists).
The report also points out the increases in the Swiss market which rose 16.8%. The greatest increase, with 235,281 tourists; was the Belgian market with an increase of 13% and the Russian market, which grew 5.6%, up to 468,336 tourists.
Other markets, like Portugal with 312,703 tourists, the United States with 182,679, and Ireland with 151,866 arrivals, experienced decreases of 3.5%, 5.8%, and 13%, respectively.
The Canary Islands, at the top for visitors
Among the autonomous communities, the Canary Islands with a rise of 10.6% captured the largest percentage of foreign visitors with the arrival of more than three million, 31% of the total with growth in all its main markets of greater than 5%.
It was followed by Catalonia with an increase of 9.8% and 25.3% of total arrivals, up to 2.5 million visitors, a region that especially benefited from the behavior of the German market and Asian countries.
Andalusia found itself in third place regarding reception of international visitors with 1.1 million tourists, 11.6% of the total, and with a recovery of 3.9% driven by its main markets, despite being one of the communities that was most affected by Holy Week. Other markets, like France, Switzerland, and Belgium, expanded themselves.
On the other hand, the community of Madrid experienced a growth of 6.8%, representing 9.8% of total arrivals, up to 991,215 visitors. For the fourth consecutive month, the Madrid area is experiencing growth in visitor entries with a notable increase in arrivals of British and French tourists.
The Valencian Community registered an increase of 12.2%, the largest recovery, until reaching 909,482 tourists with 9% of total arrivals, the British being those that supported this growth in the largest way.
On the other hand, the Balearic Islands fell by 24.4%, reaching 416,001 tourists and 4.1% of the total, accumulating three months in the negative with Germany and the United States as the markets responsible for this decrease.
14.3% more travel packages
The airport was the main access route for tourists in the first trimester, weighing in at 81.8% with an increase of 7.5%, up to 8.2 million tourists. Road transport went up by 5.9%, which is the means of entry that 16.6% of foreign tourists visiting Spain chose.
Hotel establishments were the most in demand with a weight of 65.6% and an increase of 8.2%, hosting 6.6 million tourists; non-hotel lodgings increased 5.4% (3.4 million visitors).
68.7% of the tourists welcomed did not come as part of a travel package, a group that has increased by 4.2% regarding the same time last year. On the other hand, tourists with travel packages recovered by 14.3%, making up 31.3% of the visitors.