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Spain Tourism Statistics: Why Spain is Europe’s Best Destination

Spain is one of the most stunning holiday destinations for Europeans and many international travellers worldwide. It has something unique and significant for each and every visitor thanks to its beautiful nature, diverse culture, distinctive art, gothic architecture, regional food, and friendly people. That is why it is no surprise that it is a key driver of the national economy, as it attracts millions of tourists annually.

Tourism statistics track changes in the Tourism sector over a period of time. This numerical information determines the demographics of domestic and international visitors. It also indicates the most-visited cities and attractions, the expenditure pattern of each tourist, and the type of accommodation global visitors board. In this article, ConnollyCove analyses Spain tourism statistics and explains what its numbers really mean.

Spain in Numbers – Spain Tourism Industry Statistics

Tourism statistics help you plan your holiday amazingly. It provides an overview of the inbound and domestic tourism volume. So, before you decide to travel to Spain, take a look at the Spanish tourism statistics to plan your vacation based on real numbers.

  • The headquarter of the UNWTO, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation mandated to promote universally accessible and sustainable tourism, is in Madrid—Source: Spain Convention Bureau.
  • Before the pandemic, Spain was the second-most visited country after France—Reuters.
  • From 2013 to 2019, over 100 million travellers visited Spain annually, reaching 126.17 million visitors in 2019—World Data.
  • Spain’s Tourism contributes approximately 15% to the Spanish Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—Trading Economics.
  • From 1993 to 2022, the average tourism revenue in Spain was €3.47 billion—Trading Economics.
  • In 2016, jobs related to the tourism industry increased to 2.56 million, accounting for 13.0% of the national economy’s total employment. This percentage increased by 1.4% in comparison with 2010—INE.
  • The leading source markets for Spanish tourism are the UK, followed by France and Germany—Schengen Visa Info.
  • Most international tourists fly to Spain, followed by those who travel by land—UNWTO.
  • The primary purpose of travelling to Spain is to enjoy leisure activities—UNWTO.
  • More than 22.000 meetings were held in Spain in 2015 with over 3.8 million attendees—Spain Convention Bureau.
  • By 2025, around 89.5 million international tourists are expected to visit Spain—GlobalData.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2023

  • During the first quarter, 13.7 million international tourists travelled to Spain. This number was 41.2% more than the first quarter of 2022—Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE).
  • In these three months, the tourism industry generated 2.6 million tourism-related jobs, with an increase of 5.20% compared to 2022—Dataestur.

In March, 

  • A total of 5.3 million international tourists vacationed in Spain, 30.1% more than a year ago—INE. 
  • Total expenditure increased by 31.1%, reaching €6.7 million compared to the same month in 2022. The average daily spending grew by 6.6% to €168 per person—INE.
  • The number of nights stayed in hotels was 20.6 million, increasing by 17.10% compared to 2022. Nights stayed in campsites rose to 1.8 million, with a 27.6% increase, while nights in rural accommodations increased by 17.52% to 0.6 million—Dataestur.
  • Most tourists were from the UK because 1.1 million British tourists travelled to Spain. This number increased by 29.4% compared to 2022. Germany and France followed it with approximately 673 thousand (a 10.7% increase) and 613 thousand (a 34.1% increase) tourists, respectively—Trading Economics.
  • Tourists travelling to Spain from the USA, Portugal, and Italy grew by 74.1%, 51.1%, and 35.0%, respectively—Trading Economics. 
  • The most visited autonomous region was The Canary Islands, which accounted for 24.7% of Spain’s total arrivals. Catalonia and Andalusia followed it, accounting for 19.5% and 15.3% of the total arrivals, respectively—Trading Economics.
  • Outbound tourists travelling to Ireland by air increased by 31.5% to nearly 160 thousand—Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In February,

  • Spain welcomed 4.32 million international tourists, with a 35.9% increase compared to February 2022—INE.
  • Foreign tourists spent €5.33 billion, which was €1.55 billion or 41.1% more than in February 2022. It also surpassed the pre-pandemic period of 2019 with €659 million—INE.
  • The average daily spending grew by 19.2% to €163 per person—La Moncloa.
  • Tourism revenue reached €4.10 billion, up from €4.08 billion in January 2023. It increased by 31.77% compared to February 2022—Statista.
  • A total of 3.5 million tourists travelled for leisure, with an increase of 33.3% in comparison with the previous year—La Moncloa.
  • The number of international hotel guests who spent an average of four to seven nights increased by 37.2% compared to the year before. There was also an increase of 27.1% in the number of those who spent between eight to 15 nights—La Moncloa.
  • In January and February, the number of international tourists increased by 49.1%, reaching approximately 8.5 million—INE.

In January, 

  • A total of 4.1 million international tourists vacationed in Spain. This number was 65.8% more than in January 2022—INE.
  • More than 742 thousand tourists travelled from the UK to Spain, accounting for 17.9% of total international tourists. It increased by 103.6% compared to January 2022. France and Germany followed it with more than 485 and 478 thousand tourists, respectively—INE. 
  • Tourists from the USA, Italy, and Ireland increased significantly, with 102.8%, 78.6%, and 66.1% more than in January 2022, respectively—INE.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2022

  • Spain welcomed 71.66 million international tourists in 2022. Most tourists were from the UK, as it received around 15.12 million British visitors. France and Germany followed it with 10.10 and 9.77 million tourists, respectively—INE.
  • The autonomous community of Catalonia was the most visited Spanish region with over 14.9 million international tourists, 1.65 thousand more than the tourists who visited the Balearic Islands—Statista.
  • In May, the number of international tourists increased by 411.1% to 7 million compared to the same month in 2021, with only 1.4 million tourists—INE.
  • Spain hosted 13.5 million international tourists in December, with an 11.9% increase in comparison with 2021—Dataestur.
  • Tourism revenue in January reached €2.50 billion, which increased €2.09 billion compared to the same month in 2021. It rose to €5.51 billion in April. Then, it jumped to €9.34 billion in July, registering the highest tourism revenue in 2022—Trading Economics.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2021

  • The total number of arrivals started to recover after the breakdown of COVID-19. Spain received 51,63 million inbound tourists, up from 36.41 million in 2020—UNWTO.
  • 91.4% of international tourists were from Europe, and this percentage increased by over 3% compared to 2020—UNWTO. 
  • Spain welcomed nearly 5.8 million tourists from France and 5.2 million from Germany—Statista.
  • The number of tourists from the Americas declined by approximately 1% compared to 2020—UNWTO.
  • This year’s most popular Spanish destination was The Balearic Islands, followed by Catalonia and the Canary Islands—Statista.
  • International overnight visitors who stayed in hotels were 31.2 million, while excursionists who left on the same day were 20.5 million—UNWTO.
  • Overnight tourists spent 114.39 thousand nights in tourist accommodations, which accounted for 19% of the EU total—Eurostat.
  • Barcelona was one of the top ten European destinations that had the highest number of overnights. It was also among the world’s top destinations for remote workers, ranking second in average Wi-Fi speed and third in the number of co-working spaces—Eurostat.
  • 92.7% of international tourists travelled for leisure, while 7.3% travelled on business—UNWTO.
  • Spain ranked second in the world in terms of international meeting destinations, up from fourth in 2019—International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
  • 78.4% of foreign tourists travelled to Spain by air, which increased by 6.3% compared to the year before—UNWTO.
  • Travelling by land declined by 20.9% compared to 2020, which was 26.7%—UNWTO.
  • The tourism GDP’s contribution increased from 5.8% in 2020 to 8.0% in 2021, reaching €97,126 million—INE. 
  • The tourism industry generated 2.27 million tourism-related jobs, which accounted for 11.4% of the total employment—INE.
  • The first quarter of 2021 witnessed low tourism revenue. February had the lowest revenue of €302 million, contrary to the previous year in which it had the highest revenue—Trading Economics.
  • August has the highest tourism revenue in 2021, with €4.96 billion, followed by October, with €4.58 billion—Trading Economics.
  • Domestic tourists took around 136 million trips, with the spending reaching €27 billion—Eurostat.
  • 54.1% of the Spaniards who had 15 years and above participated in tourism. Spaniards between the age of 45 and 64 were the group of people who travelled the most—Eurostat.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2020

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe, the number of international visitors to Spain declined by 77.3% to 36.41 million—World Data.
  • The British, German, and French tourists exceeded 15 million—Statista.
  • A total of 18.93 million visitors spent their nights in hotels, while 17.48 million travelled back on the same day—UNWTO.
  • International tourists and Spaniards spent around €15 billion on food and beverages—Statista.
  • February had the highest tourism revenue, with €3.70 billion. However, Spain received no tourism revenue in April and May due to the spread of COVID-19—Trading Economics.
  • In July and August, tourism revenue grew again, reaching €2.12 and €2.17 billion, respectively. Revenue declined in the last four months of the year to more than half of August’s revenue—Trading Economics.
  • Although August is the most active month for tourism, Spain lost approximately 10.8 international tourists compared to the same month in 2019—Statista.
  • The number of international visitors who made cultural trips declined by 77% to 3.3 million compared to the previous year—Statista.
  • The number of visits to museums decreased by 68.9% to 20.4 million—Dataestur.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2019

  • The total number of visitors peaked at 126.17 million, and this number represents around 2.5 times the total population of Spain (47.4 million residents)—World Data.
  • A total of 83.51 million tourists stayed in hotels, while 42.66 million were excursionists—UNWTO.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) of tourist accommodation and food service-related industries jumped to more than €70 billion in 2019, representing a 24% increase compared to 2010—Statista.
  • 82.3% of international travellers were air passengers, while 15.7% travelled by land—UNWTO.
  • 85.47% of arrivals were from Europe. The Americas followed with 8.49%. East Asia and the Pacific ranked third with 3.56%—UNWTO.
  • A total of 18.01 million tourists came from the UK. Germany and France followed with 11.16 and 11.15 million, respectively—INE.
  • Touching €9.41 billion, tourism revenue reached its peak in August compared to previous years. July received the second-highest revenue after August, with €9.29 billion—Trading Economics.
  • January and February had the lowest revenue, with €3.56 and €3.56 billion, respectively—Trading Economics.
  • The tourism industry contributed approximately €154 million to the Spanish economy. This figure accounted for 12.4% of the GDP, 0.3% more than in 2018—INE.
  • Jobs related to the tourism industry reached 2.72 million, representing 12.9% of the total employment, 0.1% fewer than in 2018—INE. 

Spain Tourism Statistics 2018

  • Spain hosted 124.46 million travellers, with 2.74 million more than in the previous year—World Data.
  • A total of 82.81 million international tourists spent nights in tourist accommodations, while the rest left on the same day—UNWTO.
  • The number of British tourists slightly decreased to 18.50 million in comparison with 2017, which was 18.81 million—INE.
  • Germany had the second-highest number of tourists with 11,41 million, followed by France with 11.34 million—INE.
  • Tourism-related jobs reached €2.62 million, representing 12.7% of the total employment, 0.3% more than in 2017—INE.
  • The tourism industry generated nearly €148 million. This figure accounted for 12.3% of the GDP, 0.1% more than in 2017. It has increased by 1.3% since 2015—INE. 
  • The contribution of Spain’s international tourism industry accounts for 40% of Southern Europe’s total—World Data. 
  • August had the highest tourism revenue with €9.16 billion, followed by July with €8.95 billion. However, the lowest revenue was in January and February, with €3.47 and €3.45 billion, respectively—Trading Economics.
  • Sports tourism activity generated €2.44 billion, with an increase of 10% compared to 2017—La Moncloa.
  • Residents spent €1.03 billion on sport-related trips, up from 957 million in 2017. However, international tourists spent €1.41 billion, up from €1.26 billion in 2017—La Moncloa.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2017

  • A total of 121.71 million tourists vacationed in Spain, with an increase of 6.15 million compared to 2016—World Data.
  • The number of overnight visitors was 81.87 million; however, the number of same-day visitors was 39.85 million—UNWTO.
  • British tourists reached 18.81 million, increasing by 1.13 million in comparison with the year before—INE.
  • German tourists amounted to 11.90 million, while French tourists reached 11.26 million—INE.
  • The tourism industry’s contribution to the Spanish economy accounted for 11.8% of GDP. It increased by 0.6% in comparison with 2016, which represented 11.2% of GDP—Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  • July had a tourism revenue of €9.01 billion, making it the highest revenue in 2017. It was followed by August, which had a revenue of €8.92 billion—Trading Economics.

Most Visited Cities in Spain Statistics

  • In 2022, Barcelona was the most popular city in Spain because of its works of architecture and art. It is also well-known for its fantastic beaches, good weather, competitive sports, and regional gastronomy. Its hotel establishments welcomed 5.84 million international overnight tourists this year—Statista. 
  • Park Güell registered more than 1.01 million international visitors in 2021, making it Barcelona’s most visited attraction—Statista. 
  • With approximately 240 thousand visitors fewer, La Sagrada Família was Barcelona’s second most-visited attraction in 2021. During the pandemic of 2020, visits to La Sagrada Família declined sharply to 763 thousand compared to 2019, when 4.72 million tourists visited it—Statista.
  • The second most visited city in Spain in 2022 was Madrid because a total of 4.31 million international overnight tourists stayed at its hotel establishments. It has been among the top 10 European cities where tourists spend nights in its tourist accommodations. However, the daily expenditure of international visitors in 2022 declined by 18% to €281 per person compared to 2021—Statista. 
  • Madrid’s most popular art museum in 2022 was the Museo Reina Sofía. Its number of visitors grew by 186% to over three million compared to 2021. It registered the highest number of visitors in 2019, with approximately 4.5 million tourists—Statista. 
  • Palma de Mallorca was Spain’s third most-visited city in 2022, with over 1.94 million international overnight guests. As the largest of the Balearic Islands, it has numerous seaside resorts and bays. It also offers several hiking tours through its mountainous environment—Statista.

We have analysed the Spanish tourism statistics. Now, you know everything about Spain‘s most visited cities and attractions and can plan a fantastic itinerary with your family or friends.

This post first appeared on Travel Blog, Culture And Travel Vlogs From ConnollyCove, please read the originial post: here

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Spain Tourism Statistics: Why Spain is Europe’s Best Destination


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