Justin N. Froyd - Feb 6, 2023
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Last year, Spain received a total of 71.6 million tourists from foreign countries, which is more than double the figure of the previous year (129.5%) which was greatly affected by the pandemic, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) released last week. The expenditure made by these visitors reached EUR 87,061 million, with a particularly outstanding increase in the average daily expenditure, which rose by 15.3% and stood at EUR 145.

The data on tourist movements at borders (Frontur) made public by the Spanish statistical institute show that the figures for the close of 2022, bordering on 72 million registered tourists, are still 14.3% below those recorded in 2019, a record year for Spanish tourism in which 83.7 million foreign visitors coming to the country exceeded 83.7 million.

For the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, these data confirm the intense recovery of the tourism sector in 2022. "The expectations we had of recovering the majority of pre-pandemic international tourists have been met, but the most important thing is that spending is growing more and also the average stay and this means an improvement in the quality and profitability of our sector," she said.

According to Maroto, these data demonstrate the strength of the sector in complex contexts and the effectiveness of the measures adopted by the Government. "According to our forecasts, in 2023 the recovery of tourism will be completed, reaching again record figures in tourists and spending," stated the head of tourism.

The main source countries of tourists visiting Spain last year were the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

The arrival of tourists residing in the United Kingdom increased by 251.3%, those coming from France by 73.3% and those coming from Germany by 87.4%.

By region, Catalonia was the main destination in 2022, with 20.7% of the total number of tourists. It was followed by the Balearic Islands (18.5%) and the Canary Islands (17.2%).

More than 14.8 million tourists arrived in Catalonia, 155.8% more than in 2021, with the main country of residence being France (with 23.1% of the total).

The number of tourists who visited the Balearic Islands last year also doubled to more than 13.2 million. 32.6% came from Germany and 25.5% from the United Kingdom.

The third main destination community by number of tourists was the Canary Islands, with more than 12.3 million and an annual increase of 134.5%. The United Kingdom was the main country of origin with 38% of the total, followed by Germany (17.1%).

For its part, Andalusia received 10 million tourists (135.7% more than in 2021), Comunidad Valenciana another 8.6 million (114.1% more) and Comunidad de Madrid about 6 million (177.4% more).

Most of the international tourists who arrived in Spain did so by air, a total of 59.3 million, an increase of 142.5% over the previous year. Nearly 11 million international visitors arrived by road, up 71.8%.

Hotel or rented accommodation was used by 59.5 million tourists (140.3% more than in 2021) and homes owned or rented by family or friends by another 12 million (87.8% more).

The main reason for traveling to Spain was for leisure, recreation and vacations. For this reason, nearly 62.1 million arrived, with an annual increase of 135.6%, while for business or professional reasons another 4.4 million did so (up 111.5%).

The majority stay in 2022 was between four to seven nights, and most visitors (54.1 million) came to Spain without a tourist package, twice as many as in 2021.

These data confirm the closing of a positive tourism year in Spain, which in December was visited by 4.1 million international tourists, 39.9% more than in the same month of 2021.

The United Kingdom was once again the major source of visitors to Spain in the last month of the year, with 758,591 tourists, representing 18.4% of the total and an increase of 82.5% compared to December 2021.

By destination the Canary Islands was the most favorite for foreign tourists in December, with 29.6% of the total, followed by Catalonia (19.7%) and Andalusia (13%).

As far as spending is concerned, according to data from the tourism expenditure survey (Egatur) prepared by the INE the total expenditure made by non-resident tourists in Spain last year stood at 87,061 million euros, which was an increase of 149.4% over that of 2021. Comparing this figure with 2019, total spending was 5.3% lower.

Average spending per tourist reached EUR 1,217, up 8.7% compared to 2021. Meanwhile, average daily spending grew by 17.8% to EUR 162.


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