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May Sees Over 8.8 Million International Air Passengers in Spain

Spain continues to witness a remarkable surge in tourism, as it welcomed more than 8.8 million international air passengers in May 2023 alone.

This represents a substantial increase of 13.9% compared to the same month in the previous year, according to data released by Turespaña, Spain’s tourism board. The overall figure for the first five months of 2023 stands at 34 million arrivals, reflecting a remarkable growth of 28.8% compared to the same period in 2022.

Héctor Gómez, the Minister for Industry, Trade, and Tourism, expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the tourism sector during the first half of the year. He emphasized that not only has the number of tourists increased, but there has also been a significant improvement in the quality of services provided to travelers. Gómez stated, “Our forecast for the high season is that we will match and even surpass pre-pandemic figures in terms of tourists, overnight stays, and spending at the destination.”

The month of May witnessed a surge in passengers from major countries across the globe. Approximately 55.7% of the total number of passengers arrived from the European Union, marking a substantial increase of 12.6%. Meanwhile, the remaining 44.3% of passengers, originating from the rest of the world, experienced a growth of 15.5%.

Among the countries showing the highest growth rates in comparison to May 2022, Poland led the way with a significant increase of 36.4%, followed by Portugal and Italy with growth rates of 24.1% and 22.6% respectively.

In terms of volume, the United Kingdom maintained its position as the top issuer of passengers in May, with 2,167,830 arrivals representing a 9.5% increase compared to the previous year. British tourists had a notable impact on various autonomous communities, particularly the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, which welcomed 25.2% and 21.2% of these passengers respectively. It is worth mentioning that 80.4% of British passengers opted for low-cost carriers (LCC), with the United Kingdom being the leading market for arrivals on these airlines, accounting for 32.5% of the total. The total number of British travelers so far this year amounts to 7,439,633, a significant increase of 27.2% compared to the first five months of 2022.

Germany remained the second-largest country of origin for international passengers, with a 7.5% increase in arrivals in May. The Balearic Islands were particularly favored by German tourists, who accounted for 45.2% of the total. Nearly half of German passengers (45.2%) traveled on traditional airlines, with Germany being the leading market in terms of arrivals on these carriers, accounting for 17.1% of the total.

Italy emerged as the third-largest country of origin, contributing 9% of the passenger flow in May. Italy experienced a remarkable growth rate of 22.6% compared to the previous year, benefiting regions such as Catalonia (29.9% of these passengers) and Madrid (25.8%). Notably, 79% of Italian passengers opted for LCC, highlighting a preference for these carriers over traditional airlines.

France accounted for 7.9% of the total number of passengers in May, showing a growth of 9.8%, which mainly favoured Madrid and Catalonia. In the case of international passengers from the Netherlands, there was an increase of 1.5% in May, with the main destinations being Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

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Valencia, the fastest growing region

Madrid was the community with the highest number of arrivals in May (21.2% of the total), followed by the Balearic Islands (20.6%) and Catalonia (20.2%). Among the top six, the Community of Valencia recorded the highest year-on-year growth (19%), followed by Madrid (16.7%) and Catalonia (15.8%). Overall growth in the six communities with the highest number of arrivals (the six together account for 96.8% of the total) was 13.5%.

In terms of airports, Valencia airport experienced the highest YoY growth (23% compared to May 2022), followed by Barcelona (18.4%) and Alicante (with a growth of 17.2% YoY). In terms of total volume, Barajas accounted for 1,872,143 international passengers in May, compared to 1,640,439 for Barcelona airport; in third place that month was Palma de Mallorca airport, with 1,376,149 international passengers.

Of the total number of passengers arriving in Spain by air in May, 60.9% of them chose LCC to travel with, an increase of 13.9% compared to May 2022, while the figure for those travelling on traditional airlines, the remaining 39.1%, increased by 13.8%.

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