Foreign tourists arriving for Easter talk to their holiday representative at Malaga Airport last month. / SUR

Average spending by foreign tourists is already ahead of pre-pandemic levels

Visitors handed over 1,257 euros in Spain on their holidays, almost 200 more per person than in 2019, although total spending is 15 per cent lower than in 2019

EDURNE MARTÍNEZ MALAGA.

In the month of March alone four million foreign tourists arrived in Spain; 71 per cent of the number that came in the same month of 2019, just before the pandemic started.

However, tourists are spending more money this time around: 1,257 euros each on average, which is almost 200 euros more than the 1,068 euros spent in March 2019.

The average daily expenditure grew by 20 per cent to 157 euros, even though the duration of trips by international tourists is eight days this year, 0.5 less than in March 2021, according to data published on Thursday by Spain's Institute of National Statistics (INE).

Despite the figures, total spending remains 15 per cent below 2019 levels, but already exceeds five billion. The total income from international tourists reached 5,069 million euros, an increase of 830 per cent compared to the same month in 2021.

Spain's tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, explained in a statement that this trend will "intensify" in the summer period, with results that "make us optimistic", including more international flights programmed offering more than 29 million seats.

In the year-to-date, total visitor spending has increased by almost 800 per cent compared to last year, reaching 11,853 million euros, which is 3,500 million less than in the first quarter of 2019.

Brits lead the way

Of the four million foreign tourists who arrived in Spain in March, the largest group was from the United Kingdom.

During that month 826,400 British tourists arrived; 18 per cent of the total. They spent 1,013 million euros in Spain, representing 20 per cent of the total.

In the first three months of the year, the number of tourists increased by almost 700 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2021, reaching almost 9.7 million visitors, compared to only 1.2 million last year.

After the UK, it was German and French tourists who took second and third place, with 608,800 and 457,000 arrivals, respectively.

Among the other countries, the growth compared to last year was notable in Ireland (+2.5 per cent), the United States (1.9 per cent) and the Nordic countries (1.3 per cent).

The main destination of these tourists was the Canary Islands, which registered 33 per cent of total expenditure in March and 1.1 million visitors.

Catalonia was the second most popular destination with 14.5 per cent of total expenditure and 703,000 tourists.

Andalucía saw 15 per cent of total expenditure and 610,000 people.