Spaniards travelled 23.6% more in the first nine months of 2021

by Lorraine Williamson
the first nine months more Spanish travelled

MADRID – The number of trips made by residents of Spain increased by 26.3% in the first nine months of the year and total spending increased by 31.9% compared to the same period in 2020, data released Wednesday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) showed. 

Spaniards made 57 million trips in the third quarter of 2021. That is 23.6% more than in the same period of 2020. Furthermore, Spain was the main destination for 94.4% of the trips. This relates to an increase of 20.6% compared to the third quarter of last year. Moreover, in 41.3% of the over 22.3 million domestic trips, residents stayed with family or friends, an increase of 11.2%.  

Foreign trips 

Foreign trips, accounting for 5.6% of the total, increased by 111.9%. Total expenditure on domestic trips increased by 43.5% and on trips abroad by 184.5%. For trips abroad, accommodation in hotels or apartments was the preferred choice (59.6%). Consequently, overseas travel in hotel accommodation decreased by 18.4%. 


Summer holidays accounted for 36.5% of trips in the third quarter. But June was also a good month, with 23.2 million summer holiday trips, 41.9% more than the previous year. These trips had an average duration of 12.3 nights, 8.4% less than the same period in 2020. 

Travel motives 

In the first six months of 2021, trips to visit family or friends increased by 20.8%, leisure trips by 27.4%, business trips by 30.4% and other trips by 48.6%. 

Measured over the first nine months of 2021, domestic trips by residents staying with family or friends increased by 18.6%. However, the main reasons for travelling in the third quarter were leisure, recreation and holidays. This was regardless of whether the destination was in the home country (60% of the total) or abroad (55.2%). The number of trips for family visits, 32% of the total, increased by 19.6%. Business and work-related travel and other travel increased by 8.2% and 38.6% respectively.  


85.4% of domestic trips were made by private vehicle, 15.1% more than in the same quarter of 2020. Air transport was used for 50.6% of trips abroad, an increase of 222%. 

Regional differences 

The most visited sub-regions in the second quarter of 2021 were Andalucia (20% of the total), Catalonia (13.5%) and Valencia (12.4%). Measured by the number of residents, Cantabria residents travelled the most (with 2,744 trips per 1,000 inhabitants), followed by Castilla y León (1,937) and Castilla-La Mancha (1,643).  

If the size of the sub-regions is not taken into account, residents of the Madrid region travelled most (1,646 trips per 1,000 inhabitants), Aragon (1,544) and Navarre (1,538). Less travelled were the inhabitants of the Canary Islands (741 trips per 1,000 inhabitants), region Valencia (946) and Galicia (957). 

Average daily expenditure 

Average daily expenditure was €44 for domestic and €66 for foreign trips. Total travel expenditure was €16.718 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 55% in the same period in 2020. For domestic trips, total expenditure increased by 43.5% and for trips abroad by 184.5%. 

Travellers to the Canary Islands spent the most per day on average: €73. In the Balearic Islands, it was €70 and in Navarre €52. Spending was lowest in the region of Murcia (€29), Castilla y León (€30) and Castilla-La Mancha (€33). 

Residents from the Canary Islands spent the most per day, €59, followed by those from Cantabria (€56) and Galicia (€52). The least was spent by residents of the Region of Murcia (€35), Region of Valencia (€40) and Basque Country (€41). 

Remarkable facts in the summer months 

In July, 18.4 million trips were made, in August 24.1 million and in September 14.6 million. In these three months, the main reasons for travelling were leisure, recreation and holidays. August was characterised by a low number of business trips (2.6%). In August, relatively more people travelled to another Autonomous Community (51.6%) or abroad (6%). Only 4.5% of Spaniards stayed in their own sub-region. In September, 58.7% used non-market accommodation and 24.3% chose hotel accommodation.  


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