Strong increase in international tourists in Spain in the first quarter

by Lorraine Williamson
international tourists

MADRID – Spain received the visit of 13.7 million international tourists in the first three months of the year, which is 41.2% more than in the same period of 2022. 

In the three months combined, the total expenditure of these tourists amounted to €17.2 billion, representing an increase of 44.7% compared to the same quarter last year, according to data published today by the National Institute of Statistics (INE ). 

In the month of March, 5.3 million visitors arrived in Spain (an increase of 30% compared to March 2022). They spent a total of €6.66 million between travel and accommodation, 31.1% more than a year ago. 

“2023 an extraordinary year for tourism” 

The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez, sees these data as proof that “2023 is going to be an extraordinary year for tourism, not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively, with higher spending and longer stays”. According to Gómez, “We are witnessing the consolidation of tourism as one of the main drivers of the Spanish economy, which is also reflected in the quality of employment in the sector and in an increasingly diverse and innovative range of destinations.” 

Increase daily expenses 

The average spend per tourist this month of March was €1,266, an annual increase of 0.7%. Average daily spending, on the other hand, increased by 6.6% to €168. In terms of stay, the average length of travel by international tourists is 7.6 days, a figure similar to that of a year ago. 

Most growth in the US 

By country, the UK, which continues to lead the tourist issuance market with 1.1 million visiting tourists, experienced significant growth this month of March (29.4%) compared to the same month in 2022. 

France and Germany are the next countries in terms of visitor numbers. Germany contributed 673,584 tourists (an increase of 10.7% year-on-year) and France 613,323 (an increase of 34.1% compared to a year ago). 

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

Of the other countries, the annual growth of tourists from the United States (74.1% more than in March 2022) is striking. It is the country that is growing the most this month, Portugal (51.1% above a year ago) and Italy (35.0% more). 

Canary Islands and Catalonia popular 

The Canary Islands, is the main destination in March – with 24.7% of the total – received 1.3 million tourists, 15.5% more than a year ago. The main countries of residence of the tourists this community receives are the UK (with 35.2% of the total) and Germany (18.4%). 

After the Canary Islands, Catalonia is the second autonomous region with 19.5% in terms of the number of international tourists received in March (more than one million visitors). Like the Canary Islands, this region has also experienced strong growth compared to a year ago. In March, 44.9% more tourists arrived in Catalonia than in the same month of 2022. In terms of country of origin, 19.5% of visitors come from France and 9.8% from Italy. 

Andalucia at the third position 

The third most important region by number of tourists is Andalucia, with 803,139 visitors in March and an annual increase of 31.7%. The UK is the most important country of origin (with 26.6% of the total), followed by the Scandinavian countries (10.1%). 

In the aggregated quarterly figures, the communities receiving the most tourists are the Canary Islands (with more than 3.7 million and an increase of 30.9% compared to the same period in 2022), Catalonia (with almost 2.8 million and an increase of 53.4%) and Andalucia (by almost 2.0 million, 46.2% more). 

In the rest of the Communities, the increase of 34.8% on an annual basis in the number of tourists in the Valencian Community is striking. Growth for the Madrid region was 32.8% and that of the Balearic Islands was 17.5%. 

Also read: Spain closes 2022 with more than 80 million international air passengers 

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