Tourism signs its best start to the year with spending that grows 26%

Tourist activity marks its best start to the year in Spain with a record number of international visitors and spending for the months of January and February.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 16:27
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Tourism signs its best start to the year with spending that grows 26%

Tourist activity marks its best start to the year in Spain with a record number of international visitors and spending for the months of January and February. The data published this Tuesday by the INE certify the forecasts of hoteliers, airlines and travel agencies, which already speak of an exercise that could be historic. This reinforces the weight of tourism in the Spanish economy.

In February, 5 million international tourists visited the country, 15.9% more than in the same month of 2023. These travelers contributed 6,747 million euros, which represents a growth of 25.8% compared to February of last year.

For the Minister of Industry and Tourism, Jordi Hereu, the figures consolidate the deseasonalization of the sector in Spain, one of the great objectives of this industry. “The low tourist season already behaves like another period of expansion, which shows that the deseasonalization of arrival flows is consolidated, and that this has a positive impact on tourist spending and the quality of employment, which is less subject to the ups and downs of temporality,” Hereu stressed in a statement.

The average expenditure per traveler and the average stay, two data that serve to measure the quality of tourism, once again offer very positive figures. Each tourist spent an average of 1,347 euros in February, 8.5% more than last year, and spending per day also reflects this growth, reaching 173 euros, an increase of 5.8% year-on-year. During the first two months of 2024, total spending by international tourists increased by 25.7% and reached 13,296 million euros.

By markets, the United Kingdom continues to lead the list of tourist-sending countries for another month, with 939,712 travelers in February and an increase of 20.3% compared to February 2023. From France, the second country in visits, 619,218 tourists arrived ( 1.4% less than a year ago) and Germany, third in the ranking, contributed 592,188 tourists (11.3% above the figure for February 2023).

At the head of the countries with the highest growth in international tourist arrivals this February is Belgium, with an increase of 39.3% compared to a year ago; In second place is the Netherlands, which experiences an increase of 35.6% and third place goes to Italy, with an increase of 25.9% year-on-year. As for non-European countries, the US stands out, with 164,162 tourists in February experiencing a growth of 23.9%.

The Canary Islands, a community that is now experiencing its high season, was the first main destination for tourists in February, with 28.1% of the total. They were followed by Catalonia (21%) and Andalusia (14.5%). As far as spending is concerned, the Canary Islands (with 32.3% of the total), Catalonia (16.4%) and the Community of Madrid (14.7%) lead the classification. Tourist spending increased by 21.6% in the annual rate in the Canary Islands, 17.8% in Catalonia and 36.9% in the Community of Madrid. The community where tourist spending increased the most was the Balearic Islands, with 41.5%.

This good start to the year adds to an Easter that has also been positive, although less than expected due to the effects of the storm at the last minute. All in all, and if the drought does not worsen, the sector estimates that 2024 will once again break all records.