Spanish tourism is experiencing significant growth but is not there yet

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish tourism

MADRID – From the moment the pandemic took hold, it dealt a serious blow to the tourism sector worldwide; also in Spain. Now that the pandemic seems to be on its way back, the Spanish tourism sector is showing signs of recovery. 

Even though national tourism in Spain is on the rise again, the high figures from the year before the pandemic are not forthcoming. In 2021, tourism increased by 40.7% compared to 2020. In 2021, the Spaniards made 142.9 million trips, more than 40% more than in 2020. They spent about €32 million. That is more than 54% more than the year before. 

Spanish tourism

The figures come from the Spanish tourism survey published by INE (Spanish CBS). However, compared to 2019, before the global corona crisis broke out and the counter still stood at 193.9 million trips, the total number of trips has decreased by 26.3%. Expenditure also decreased by 32.3% compared to 2019. In that year, the Spaniards still spent €48 billion. 

A large majority of Spaniards stayed in their own country 

The numbers speak for themselves: 95% of Spaniards stayed in their own country. 89% of the total expenses can be attributed to overnight stays. Of those expenses, 83.4% went to an average daily activity of €49. The small number of Spaniards who decided to travel abroad (5%), accounted for 1% of the total number of overnight stays. They spent an average of €79 per day, which represents 16.6% of the total expenditure. 

Main travel motives 

Just getting away and not having to do anything was the main reason for Spanish tourism (48.4%). With an average spending pattern of €57 per day, 58.1% of all expenses can be attributed to this category of travellers. The group that travelled to visit family and/or friends accounted for 36.6% of the total expenditure. 

The spending pattern at home and abroad 

For domestic travel, accommodation (27.1%) was the largest expense, followed by bars and restaurants (25.1%) and others (20.7%). For foreign trips, transport resulted in the highest expenses (30.6%). 21.7% of the total went to accommodation abroad and to bars and restaurants 18.3%. Incidentally, the travellers for business and business trips took the cake, spending an average of €89 per day. 

In which region did Spanish tourists spend the most? 

The Canary Islands are in the lead, with €73 per day spent by holidaymakers on this archipelago. Slightly less (€69) was spent in the Balearic Islands. Capital Madrid took 3rd place with €66 per day. In the regions of La Rioja and Castilla-La Mancha people spent an average of €40 and in Murcia the least (€35). 

Number of travellers per autonomous regions 

Sunny Andalucia was the biggest attraction for Spanish tourism in the total number of trips in 2021 with 18.2%. The autonomous regions of Catalonia (14.4%) and Valencia (11.7%) also did well. The regions dangling at the bottom of the list were Murcia (1.9%), Navarra (1.4%), and finally La Rioja, representing a paltry 0.9% of the total. 

Also read: British tourism in Benidorm back to pre-pandemic levels

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