Wednesday, 2 August 2023, 18:12
The tourism sector remains a central pillar of the Spanish economy as shown by figures published this Wednesday by the National Statistics Institute (INE). In the first six months of the year foreign visitors spent more than 46 billion euros. This is despite the fact that there are fewer tourists than before the pandemic. A total of 37.5 million international tourists arrived in the first six months of the year, almost 24% more than in 2022, but still 1.6% below 2019 levels when 38.2 million foreigners visited Spain.
What is noteworthy is the amount that foreign tourists are spending. In the first semester of 2019 foreign tourist numbers were greater than this year but they only spent 40.3 billion euros. And, compared to last year's figures, foreign tourists spent 28% more this year. However, taking inflation into account means this year's higher tourist spending is slightly below prepandemic levels.
The average expenditure per tourist in the first half of the year was 1,275 euros, 6% more than last year, with a daily expenditure of 188 euros, 8% more. In addition, the average duration of travel is 6.8 days, according to the INE figures.
Acting Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez, said these "excellent" figures demonstrate the success of the government's commitment to quality and excellence.
The figures show that travellers from the USA have exceeded 1.84 million people, in the first semester, 55% more than those who came in the same period last year and 15% more than those who came before the pandemic.
After the United States, come Swiss tourists (up 19.8%) and Irish holidaymakers (up 13.7%). The forecasts of the tourist employers' group Exceltur indicate that the number of hotel reservations for North American tourists will increase almost 23% compared to the summer of 2019, as well as by 15% for those by Latin Americans. However, Chinese tourist reservations will plummet 62% this summer compared to pre-pandemic figures, and those of Japanese visitors are also set to drop heavily, by an estimated 57%.
British tourist visits numbered 7.7 million tourists from January to June, which remains well below the 8.3 million that came in 2019. In second place were the Germans, with 4.9 million visits, and the French, also with 4.9 million visits.
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