According to data published by the National Statistics Institute (INE), Spain has achieved a remarkable recovery in the tourism sector during the first five months of the year. A total of 29.2 million international tourists visited the country, a figure that is close to pre-pandemic levels (29.3 million). This increase in visitor arrivals has boosted the tourist economy, generating a total expenditure of 35,405 million euros, representing an increase of 15.8% compared to the same period last year.
Spain receives 29.2 million international tourists in the first five months, driving the recovery of the tourism sector
The trend of higher spending per tourist, which has been maintained since the start of the pandemic, continues to consolidate. The average daily expenditure per person stood at 185 euros at the end of May, an increase of 22 euros compared to the same month in 2019.
United Kingdom leads as the main source of tourists, and May surpasses pre-pandemic levels
The United Kingdom remained the main issuer of tourists to Spain in the first five months of the year, with 5.77 million visitors. It was followed by France with 3.93 million and Germany with 3.73 million. Only France has managed to surpass pre-pandemic visitor levels.
In the month of May, tourist spending amounted to €9,723 million, 20.8% more than last year and 19.5% more than in May 2019. The average expenditure per tourist stood at €1,183, an annual increase of 2.7%. The average daily expenditure reached 185 euros, registering a growth of 4.7%. The average stay decreased slightly to 6.4 days.
May even surpassed the figures of four years ago, with a total of 8.2 million international tourists entering the country, mainly from the UK, France and Germany, which accounted for more than half of the total (4.1 million between them).
Increased tourism from countries such as the United States, Portugal and Belgium
It is important to highlight the significant growth of tourists from countries such as the United States, Portugal and Belgium. Compared to last year, the number of American visitors increased by almost 39%, Portuguese tourists increased by 26.2% and Belgian tourists experienced an increase of almost 20%.
In terms of the autonomous communities most sought after by international tourists, the Balearic Islands topped the list as the main destination, receiving 1.8 million visitors, mainly German and British. Catalonia came in second place with almost 1.8 million tourists, mostly from France and the United States. It was followed by Andalusia, which welcomed 15% of foreign tourists, mainly from the UK and France.
The most visited autonomous communities and their economic impact
In terms of expenditure, the autonomous communities that recorded the highest figures were the Canary Islands (8,420 million), Catalonia (6,451 million), Andalusia (5,143 million), Madrid (4,915 million) and the Balearic Islands (4,010 million). These figures demonstrate the positive economic impact of tourism in these regions.
The Community of Madrid recorded the highest average daily expenditure per person, reaching 324 euros, followed by Catalonia with 222 euros and the Balearic Islands with 195 euros.
In terms of the means of transport used, of the total number of tourists arriving between January and May, 24.4 million arrived by air, 4.2 million by road, more than 353,000 by boat and nearly 95,000 by train.
In terms of accommodation, the majority of tourists (18.7 million) stayed in hotels, followed by 3.2 million who opted for rented accommodation and 2 million who stayed in their own holiday homes.
These data indicate a solid recovery of the tourism sector in Spain, which has managed to attract a significant number of international visitors and has experienced an increase in tourism expenditure. As the summer season progresses, the most sought-after autonomous communities, such as the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Andalusia, continue to be popular destinations for foreign tourists.
These positive results provide hope and confidence in Spain’s economic recovery through tourism, but also underline the importance of continuing to implement health safety and tourism promotion measures to maintain momentum and attract more visitors in the coming months.