Tourism in Spain in the high season was very good. In general, tourists who left because of the pandemic returned. Almost as many tourists arrived as in summer 2019. Furthermore, overall spending, thanks to inflation, was at record levels.
However, there has been a shift. Supply markets are becoming more diverse, which is healthy for a high-risk sector. The war in Ukraine meant that the half-million Russian tourists who visited Spain in the summer before the pandemic stayed away.
The figures speak for themselves. In June, July and August 2019, Spain received 542,000 Russian visitors. Four years later, none remained because of visa restrictions for these citizens after the invasion of Ukraine. This was noticeable on the Mediterranean coast, but especially in Catalonia.
British and German tourism in Spain
In addition, the economic crisis that emerged after the invasion had consequences for two of Spain’s main markets: the British and Germans. High inflation and economic stagnation in the UK and Germany have caused many of these tourists to stay at home. In the case of the UK, the effects of Brexit are also in play.
‘The decline in the UK and German markets could be dangerous if it continues. We will have to see if we can find other markets to replace these two. And wait and see how the economic situation develops,’ Tolo Deyà, who works at the Faculty of Tourism at the University of the Balearic Islands, told Spanish newspaper 20minutos. However, Deyà points out that the season has generally been very good for Spain. ‘We have met expectations, despite the risk of a price increase,’ he added.
The British and German markets remain two of the main sources of revenue for the sector in the high season, together accounting for 31% of all money spent by foreign visitors in these months.
Not only British and Germans stayed away. There were 250,000 fewer Asian tourists (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans) and another 200,000 from Scandinavian countries. In total, nearly 1.8 million tourists of different nationalities did not travel to Spain this summer.
Portugal, the US and Italy come to the rescue
That loss has been offset by the arrival of more than 1.5 million extra tourists from other nationalities. The rise in Portuguese tourism is particularly notable, with 189,000 more visitors than four years ago. These are often visitors who travel by car and have some purchasing power, says Deyà.
Also noteworthy is the boom in arrivals from the United States, 172,000 more than four years ago. Furthermore, 164,000 more Italian tourists arrived than four years ago. Mexican arrivals increased by 121,000, Israeli arrivals by 112,000 and Canadian arrivals by 74,000.