26th January 2023
A beach bar in Barcelona.
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Spain recuperates over 70% of pre-pandemic tourism

Four million foreign visitors came to Spain in the month of March, 720.5% more than in March 2021, according to fresh data released on Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

The strong rebound in foreign visitors coincided with the end of most Covid restrictions. The figures are equivalent to reaching 71% of the arrivals recorded three years earlier (March 2019), before Coronavirus hit the tourism sector.

Tourist arrivals have now reached 9.7 million between January and March 2022, up from 1.2 million a year ago, INE reported. Arrivals from the UK  — Spain’s largest market — stood at 1.8 million, nearly 30 times the figure in in the first quarter of 2021.

In addition, average spending exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Foreign tourists spent 5.07 billion euros in Spain during March, up from 544 million euros a year earlier, according to INE data.

‘Spain has ended the first quarter with good data on arrivals and tourist spending, a trend that we hope will intensify in the summer period,’ Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto tweeted.

However, the number of international tourists arriving in Spain is still 1.6 million below what was recorded three years ago.

The rebound in March, both in tourist arrivals and spending, represents the 10th consecutive month of year-on-year increases.

The main country of origin of tourists for Spain was from the UK, with 826,399 visitors, which represents an increase of 4,084.7%, compared to March 2021.

The following source markets were Germany with 608,803 arrivals (+482.2%) and France with 456,592 tourists (+332%), respectively. Likewise, tourists from Ireland, the United States and the Nordic countries also increased.

Spain had been the second most visited country in the world in 2019, receiving 83.7m visitors during the full year. The number of foreign tourists who visited during 2020, however, fell by over 80% to 19 million, the lowest figure since 1969

31.1 million international tourists visited Spain during 2021. The Spanish government had hoped to see 45 million foreign visitors in 2021, around half the pre-pandemic figure.

A beach bar in Barcelona.
A beach bar in Barcelona. (Vicente Zambrano González)

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