22nd February 2024
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Spain sets a new record for foreign visitors in April

Spain received a record figure of 7.2 million international tourists in April, 18.5% more than in the same month of 2022 and 1.2% more than in April 2019, before the pandemic, according to data published on Thursday by the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE). Spending also exceeded pre-Covid figures, the data revealed.

Spanish Prime Minter Pedro Sánchez celebrated the news, tweeting that ‘Spain has broken the record for foreign tourists in the best April in history’. In reference to the political battle ahead of the 23 July general election that he announced by surprise on Monday, he added that ‘this good economic news cannot be hidden by the far-right parties’. ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez goes on the attack, labelling the PP and Vox as being both far-right.

Foreign tourism is crucial to the Spanish economy. Before the Covid pandemic, its tourism sector normally accounted for 12.3% of the country’s GDP – and it usually generates more than 2.6 million jobs in the country.

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 following the outbreak of Covid, however, fell by over 80% to 19 million, the lowest figure since 1969

31.1 million international tourists then visited Spain during 2021. The Spanish government had hoped to see 45 million foreign visitors in 2021, around half the pre-pandemic figure. The number of foreign visitors in 2022 was around 70 million, still 15% lower than in 2019.

The data released for April 2023 shows that the country’s tourism sector has finally recovered after more than three years with visitor figures lower than those prior to Covid-19. 

‘This extraordinary data demonstrates, once again, that Spain is at the forefront of world tourism, that tourism recovery is complete, and that the government’s policies work,’ the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez said. 

Spain is predicted to receive between 52.3 and 54.8 million foreign tourists during May-October 2023, slightly more than the figures for the same months in 2019. 

In the first four months of 2023, Spain received almost 21 million international tourists, a growth of 32.4% compared to 2022. 

April was also a record month in regards to tourist spending, with a total of €8.48 billion, a 22.7% increase on 2022 and 20.2% increase compared to the best pre-pandemic data, INE data revealed.

Average spending per tourist in April stood at €1,172, with an annual increase of 3.6%. Average daily spending also increased by 11.6 %, to €173, according to INE data. 

A large part of this rise can be attributed to the significant price increases that have taken place in the last 18 months. The price of accommodation in Spain has risen by an average of 24%, tourist packages by 17%, and restaurants by 15% compared to pre-pandemic data.

Spain welcomed 1.4 million visitors from the UK in April, 8.7% more than in the same month in 2022. The UK was followed by France and Germany with more than a million visitors each. Tourism from France grew by 26.9% since last April and from Germany by 2%.

In the first four months of 2023, travellers from the USA increased by 75.4%, making it the country where the influx of tourists has grown the most compared to a year ago.

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