International tourist arrivals in 2023 exceed forecasts to reach 85 million for the first time

News - 2024.2.2

The number of tourists exceeded 85 million for the first time, and more importantly, destination spending, average spending and the average length of stay all exceeded the 2019 figures, showing that thanks to the Government's policies the tourism industry is pivoting towards quality and more sustainable and deseasonalised tourism".

This figure - 85,056,528 visitors - is 18.7% more than in 2022 and 1.9% more than in 2019, as the pre-pandemic reference year. Spain also broke tourism spending records, with just over €108.66 billion, 24.7% more than in 2022 and 18.2% higher than in 2019, according to data published today by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Average spending per traveller and spending per day - two figures that indicate higher quality tourism and are the focus of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism's policy efforts - also offer encouraging figures. Each tourist spent an average of €1,278, 5.1% more than the year before and 16.1% more than in 2019. Spending per day also reflected this growth, reaching €175, 8% more than in 2022 and 13.1% more than in 2019. Likewise, the average length of stay, a very important parameter for measuring the satisfaction of tourists who visit us and the quality of the Spanish tourism industry, also increased to 7.3 days (in 2019 the average was 7.1 days).

The US, the fastest growing market

In 2023, the main tourist markets for Spain experienced significant growth compared to previous years. The UK continued to top the list of tourist source countries last year, with 17.3 million tourists, up 14.6% on 2022. In terms of destination spending, UK citizens spent over €19 billion in 2023, 16.3% more than in 2022 and 11.8% up on 2019.

France provided Spain with 11.8 million tourists last year, a growth of 17% on 2022 and 6% on 2019. In terms of annual spending by French tourists, this amounted to almost €9.77 billion, up 19.7% on 2022 and 28.6% on 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of German tourists increased by 10.6% compared to 2022, to 10.8 million. These tourists spent more than €12.9 billion in the accumulated 12 months, which is a 12.6% year-on-year increase and a 11.1% increase on 2019.

Leading the countries with the highest growth in 2023 was the US, whose nationals visiting Spain increased by 38.7% compared to 2022 and by 16.9% compared to 2019. The US was also one of the markets with the highest increase in destination spending in 2023: more than €7.8 billion, which is 50% more than in 2022 and 36.4% more than in 2019. Extending the focus to the entire American continent, the increase in tourists from that part of the world was 31.9% compared to 2022. After the USA, Switzerland - with a significant increase of more than 20% of tourists - is another of the countries that experienced the greatest growth last year. "American and Swiss citizens are both tourist profiles with high purchasing power, which results in a significant increase in spending at the destination, and consequently in the quality and excellence of our tourism offer," said Minister Hereu.

Catalonia, main destination

With regard to the autonomous communities of destination chosen by international tourists, Catalonia leads the way with more than 18 million visitors, 21.2% more than in 2022. After Catalonia came the Balearic Islands - with more than 14 million tourists and a growth of 9.1% - followed by the Canary Islands (13.9 million and an increase of 13.1%), Valencia (10.4 million, an increase of 21.8%) and Madrid, which was the region with the highest year-on-year growth in 2023, 29.6%, to more than 7.5 million. The rest of the communities grew by 23.8% compared to the previous year.

In terms of expenditure, Catalonia was also the region with the highest spending in destination in 2023, at close to €20.88 billion and an increase of 26.7% over the previous year. The Canary Islands, in second place, were in practically the same position, with spending at destination at just over €20.33 billion (a growth of 16.5% year-on-year). Behind these communities, and below the €20 billion mark, were the Balearic Islands, at just over €17.72 billion and an increase of 16.4%, and Andalusia, at €15.36 billion, 28.1% higher than in 2022.

A record-breaking December

Regarding the last month of the year, December 2023, Spain received 5.2 million international tourists, 26.2% more than in the same month of 2022. Total spending in December increased by 35.4% to just over €7.09 billion.

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