Economic News: Holidaymaker Spending Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels

Spain is a country that has long relied on tourism for a significant percentage of its GDP. Tourism drives economic and social growth and development in the country, and accounted for 11.8% of the GDP in 2017, creating 2.6 million direct jobs in 2018. Taken in the context of these figures, the covid pandemic and the border closures it created had a huge impact on the Spanish economy and tourism sector. The good news is that the Spanish tourism sector is now back on track! In fact, holidaymakers in Spain spent more in March 2022 than they did in March 2020 (the last month before covid border closures began). Here’s everything you need to know:

How Much Are Tourists Spending in Spain?

The pre-pandemic spend per tourist was 1,068 euros per person. This has now grown by 13.6% with the average tourist injecting 1,257 euros per person into the Spanish economy. Whilst this is great news in terms of economic growth, it is slightly tempered by lower visitor numbers. The number of visitors arriving in Spain in March 2022 was approximately 4 million international tourists. This figure equates to 71% of the average pre-pandemic.

When balancing out the slightly lower visitor numbers alongside the slightly higher spend per person, the tourists visiting Spain spent 5 billion euros according to the latest government figures: this is around 84% of the pre-pandemic levels, so in real terms there is still more room for growth.

Where Are the Visitors Coming From?

The country sending the most foreign tourists to Spain continues to be the UK. Looking at the month of March 2022 alone, 826,399 Britons entered Spain. This was 18.3% of all of the overseas visitors entering the country whilst those same Britons accounted for 20% of tourist expenditure. This meant that Britons were spending more than the 1,257 euros average per person, and that Brits brought 1,013 million euros into Spain in a single month alone.

Reyes Maroto, the Spanish minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, said in an interview that: "Month after month, the recovery in tourism continues to consolidate. Spain closes its first quarter of 2022 with good data on international tourist arrivals and tourist spending, a trend that we hope will intensify in the summer period...The excellent membership data we have known in the month of April, and more specifically in the hotel industry due to the extraordinary Easter, together with the recovery of pre-pandemic levels in scheduled air capacity on international flights, which exceeds 29 million seats for the April-June quarter, are results that make us optimistic.”

The second largest number of foreign tourists entering spain come from Germany, with 608,803 Germans visiting in March 2022. This is a whopping 482.2% increase on the same month in 2021. The third largest number of foreign tourists entering Spain came from Grance, with 456,592 tourists visiting in March 2022. This is an increase of 332% when compared to visitor numbers from March 2021. Notable increases in visitor numbers are also coming from Ireland, the United States, and Nordic countries.

Which Areas of Spain are Most Popular?

Spain as a whole is a popular destination for foreign tourists, but some regions welcome more visitors than others. It should come as no surprise that coastal regions attract the largest number of tourists and it was the Canary Islands (thanks to their beach locations and year-round sunshine) that attracted the biggest number of tourists in March 2022. 1.1 million visitors arrived in the Canary Islands, accounting for 27.9% of all foreign visitors. 35% of these visitors were from Briton meaning that Brits made up the biggest percentage of visitors. As would be expected given these large number of visitors 33.1% of all tourism spending was also spend in the Canaries in March.

Catalonia was the second most popular destination with 703,849 foreign visitors arriving in the region. That figure is 17.5% of all of the visitors entering Spain and accounted for 14.5% of spending in the country. Finally, Andalusia was the third most popular region for foreign tourists entering Spain in March 2022. This region attracted  609,437 visitors and 14.8% of the total spending.

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