tourists sit and rest near Barcelona's Sagrada Familia in a sunny day

Spain’s Tourist Spending Skyrockets in First Quarter

Spain’s tourist spending skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2024, as the nation welcomed an influx of international visitors and achieved record-breaking economic gains.

The arrival of international tourists and tourism spending in Spain saw significant growth in March, marking a historic first quarter of the year for tourism, which this year included Easter.

driving in Spain, tourism, flag

In March, 6.3 million international tourists visited the country, a 21% increase compared to March 2023, according to data published today by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Spain also set a new record for tourist spending in March. International visitors contributed 8.652 billion euros, representing a growth of 29.7% compared to March of the previous year.

red dressed woman tourist visits Barcelona's Park Guell, holding a Spanish flag in a sunny warm day

For the first quarter, international tourist spending grew by 27.2% to 21.948 billion euros, and the number of visitors increased by 17.7% to over 16.1 million tourists.

Minister of Industry and Tourism Jordi Hereu said, “This first quarter of the year, traditionally seen as the off-season in the past, has turned out to be the best in our historical series, with significant growth in destination spending and average spending by international tourists, perfectly reflecting the shift in tourism models.”

The statistics for average spending per traveler and average daily spending, along with the average stay, are among the best indicators for measuring the effectiveness of the ministry-led policies to enhance tourism quality, and they have improved yet again this month.

inside the Madrid Atocha railway station with travelers and green flowers create a welcoming atmosphere.
Madrid Atocha railway station

Each tourist spent an average of 1,363 euros in March, up 7.3% from last year, and daily spending also reflected this growth, reaching 180 euros, an increase of 5.4% year-on-year. The average stay also saw a slight increase from March 2023 data, reaching 7.6 days.

The United States, third in spending

The United Kingdom continues to top the list of tourist-sending countries, with 1.2 million people in March and a 13.3% increase compared to March 2023.

From Germany, the second-highest country in terms of visits, came 909,031 tourists (a 28.7% increase from last year), and from France, third in the ranking, we welcomed 791,648 tourists (a 31.8% increase over March 2023 figures).

From the United States, 285,498 people visited in March, an increase of 10.4%, while from Asian markets (including China, Japan, and South Korea), 250,978 tourists arrived, marking an 18.2% annual increase.

In terms of spending levels, tourists from the United Kingdom who visited in March spent 1.365 billion euros, representing a growth of 17.8%. The second highest spender was Germany, whose nationals spent 1.207 billion euros on their vacations in Spain, an increase of 45.1% compared to March 2023. In third place was the United States, with 755 million euros spent and a growth of 34.3% year-on-year. France was fourth, with 600 million euros spent and an increase of 26.4%.

France led the countries with the highest growth in international tourist arrivals this March, with a 31.8% increase from a year ago; Belgium was second with a 30.3% rise; and Germany third with a 28.7% increase year-on-year.

The Canary Islands continue to lead in arrivals and spending

The Canary Islands were the main destination for tourists in March, accounting for 24.3% of the total, followed by Catalonia (21.2%) and Andalusia (15.1%).

The Canary Islands saw an 18.9% increase in tourists compared to March 2023. The number of tourists visiting Catalonia increased by 27.9% and those coming to Andalusia rose by 19.8%.

Aerial drone view of Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife Canary Islands
Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, Canary Islands

The autonomous communities with the greatest weight in tourist spending in March were the Canary Islands (with 26.9% of the total), Catalonia (17.3%), and Andalusia (16.9%). Tourist spending increased by 20.9% annually in the Canary Islands, 38.1% in Catalonia, and 47.6% in Andalusia.

In the first three months of 2024, the communities with the highest cumulative spending were the Canary Islands (with 29.7% of the total), Catalonia (16.6%), and the Community of Madrid (15.5%).

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