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U.S. Tourism Surges in Spain, Spain’s Tourism Numbers in 2023

In a historical rebound, U.S. tourism to Spain has seen remarkable growth throughout 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic figures with a significant increase in tourist volume, expenditure, and hotel stays. According to the latest data released by the Spanish Tourism Institute (Turespaña), spending by U.S. tourists is now 36.4% higher than in 2019, with a 16.9% increase in tourist arrivals.

In 2023, Spain welcomed 3.8 million American visitors, accounting for 4.6% of the total tourist influx and an estimated expenditure of 7.875 billion euros. This expenditure represents 7.2% of the total, ranking the United States sixth in tourist arrivals to Spain and fourth in spending.

The comprehensive data from Turespaña’s 20 market reports conclude that four years post-pandemic, in 2023, Spain has surpassed the international tourist records set in 2019. This includes a 1.9% increase in international tourists received, an 18.2% rise in nominal spending, and a 1.0% growth in hotel overnight stays, marking a complete recovery.

Compared to 2022, the number of international tourists visiting Spain grew by 18.7% year-on-year. There was also a noteworthy annual increase of 24.7% in spending and a 12.6% rise in hotel accommodations.

Diverse Tourism Outcomes Across Geographical Regions and Countries

The results, however, are heterogeneous both by geographical areas and by countries within the same area.

Most European countries have already recovered or even significantly exceeded their 2019 figures, although some like the United Kingdom (-3.8%) and Germany (-3.2%) still show a level of tourists below the pre-pandemic figures.

Similarly, the main Asian emitting countries, although they have experienced three-digit year-over-year growth, continue with levels lower than those obtained in 2019 (between -30% and -55%), due to the late opening of their borders and the gradual recovery of connectivity.

As for China, Spain has regained half of the arrival volume recorded in 2019, and the average spending per traveler has grown by 20% compared to 2019.

Regarding the Japanese market, the recovery of outbound tourism flows has been steady.

Spain continues to be one of the most demanded European destinations, to which the recovery of Iberia’s direct flight from Tokyo to Madrid, starting on October 27, will contribute.

The American continent, with some significant exceptions like Argentina, has shown very good performance, contributing very positive figures.

Mexico, for example, has seen a 47.2% year-over-year increase in spending and a 36.8% increase in the volume of arrivals, or Colombia, which has increased by 19.2% and 6.5% respectively, already surpassing the figures of 2019.

Positive Results from Portugal

Compared to last year unaffected by the pandemic, among the main source countries, in addition to the U.S., Portugal stands out for its excellent results and dynamism, with significant year-over-year growth and above 2019 figures.

In 2023, 2.8 million Portuguese tourists visited Spain, which accounted for 3.3% of the total tourists received.

Arrivals increased by 17.39% compared to 2022, and by 17.0% compared to 2019.

Regarding tourist spending, 2022 data published by the Bank of Portugal place Spain at the top as the recipient of Portuguese international tourist spending.

In 2023, Portuguese travelers spent a total of 1.583 billion euros (1.5% of the total), representing an increase of 17.6% over the previous year and 65.4% compared to 2019.

United Kingdom, Leading Source Market

In 2023, Spain welcomed 17.3 million British tourists, which accounted for 20.4% of the total tourists received, placing the United Kingdom in an undisputed first place, surpassing the second largest source market, France, by more than five and a half million tourists.

This leadership is also reflected in expenditure figures: tourists from the United Kingdom spent a total of 19.9 billion euros, contributing 18.4% of the total, clearly above Germany (11.9%) and France (9.0%).

The average spending per person and per day were 1,151 and 166 euros, respectively, while the average stay was 6.9 nights.

Foreign Tourist Profile

In 2023, the foreign tourists visiting Spain traveled mainly for leisure (87% of the total) and business (6%), predominantly staying in hotels (65%) and homes of relatives or friends (12%).

Their favorite destinations were Catalonia (21%), the Balearic Islands (17%), and the Canary Islands (16%).

Tourists with higher education (78%), belonging to the middle class (60%), and aged between 25 and 44 years old were predominant, with the average age being 43.8 years.

Most traveled with a partner (32%), followed by those traveling with family (25%) or alone (16%).

The main activities they engaged in were visiting cities (63%), enjoying the beach (62%), and shopping (55%).

Traveling without a tourist package was predominant (75%).

A total of 82% entered our country by air, while 16% did so by road.

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