Spanish Tourism Recovers to 60% of Pre-Pandemic Levels

International tourism has long been a significant part of the Spanish economy, so it is good news for the beleaguered tourism sector that Spain is recovering well, with significant number of international tourists visiting the country last month. According to statistics released by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (NE) the number of visitors to Spain in January 2022 was 60% of the figure that visited the country in the same month before the pandemic hit, and five times greater than the number of visitors in January 2021.

Increased Visitor Expenditure

2.5 million international tourists entered Spain in January 2022. As well as increased numbers of tourists, the amount of expenditure by foreign visitors also increased significantly during the same period. In January 2022 foreign tourists spent almost 3.03 billion euros in Spain. That is an increase of 561% from the 562 million euros tourists spent in January 2021, whilst the pre-pandemic expenditure sat at 4.78 billion euros spent during January 2020.

This is great news for the recovery of the Spanish tourism, and this reason for optimism has been confirmed by the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto who stated that: “The data for January confirm that the impact of the Omicron variant on tourism has been less than expected, although it has slowed down the pace of recovery...Waiting to see how the war in Ukraine can affect tourist flows in the coming months, the Government of Spain is already working on finding alternatives to a possible absence of Russian tourists this high season in our destinations most exposed to this market, as is the case of Catalonia.”

UK Tourists Return to Spain

Visitors from the UK were the most valuable market for the Spanish tourism industry, taking the top spot from Germany and France who came in second and third position respectively. The biggest, and most obvious, reason for this is the lifting of covid restrictions, which saw 363,150 people visiting Spain from the UK during January 2022. Comparing this to January 2021 when covid restrictions on travel between Spain and the UK were still in place, means that there was a 1,461.3% increase in the number of passengers travelling. A figure that is beyond significant!

With 363,150 UK travellers taking the top spot, there were also 347,955 visitors travelling to Spain from France and 282,280 visitors travelling from Germany to Spain during January 2021.

Where Are Travellers Going?

Well at this time of year it is no surprise that the eternal sunshine of the Canary Islands meant this was the top tourist destination in Spain for January 2021. 759,765 international visitors, or 30.6% of all the visitors, to Spain landed in the Canary Islands. Catalonia was the next most popular location, attracting 18.6% of visitors (or 463,661 visitors in total) followed in third place by Andalusia which saw 13% of the total (or 323,896 foreign visitors in total).

The Canary Islands were most popular with Britons and Germany, whilst Catalonia attracted visitors from France and other European countries. Andalusia saw largely British and Dutch tourists visiting during January 2022.

How Much Are Tourists Spending?

In more good news, tourists are both spending more money and spending longer on their holidays in Spain. The INE data shows that the average stay lasted 9.9 days in January 2022, compared to just 8 days two years previous: visitors are clearly wanting to get more time out of their holidays.

The average person visiting Spain is spending a total of 1,217 euros. By comparison in January 2020, the average visitor was spending 1,155 euros. With a total of 3,027 million euros spent, this represents an increase of 63% in January 2020, just prior to the global Covid pandemic. In terms of both visitor numbers and money spent then, it is good news for the Spanish tourism industry, which is seeing a considerably revival much faster than anyone expected.

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