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

Feb 5, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Minister of Industry and Tourism, Jordi Hereu, has stated that “the data we have known today even improve on the forecasts we put forward a few days ago at FITUR. The number of tourists exceeds 85 million for the first time, and what is more important, spending at the destination, average spending and average stay is above 2019, which shows that thanks to the Government’s policies the tourism industry is moving towards quality and more sustainable and deseasonalised tourism”.

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International tourist arrivals in 2023 exceed forecasts

The number of international tourists visiting Spain in 2023 exceeded 85 million for the first time since statistical records have been kept. A figure – 85,056,528 visitors – which is 18.7% more than in 2022 and 1.9% above 2019, until now the pre-pandemic reference year. In addition, Spain has broken tourism spending records, with 108,662 million euros, 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 expenditure per traveller and expenditure per day, two data that illustrate higher quality tourism and focus the efforts of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism’s policy, also offer encouraging figures in 2023. Each tourist has spent an average of 1,278 euros, 5.1% more than last year and 16.1% more than in 2019. Spending per day also reflects this growth, reaching 175 euros, which is 8% more than in 2022 and 13.1% more than in 2019. Likewise, the average stay, a very important parameter for measuring the satisfaction of the tourists who visit us and the quality of the Spanish tourism industry, also increases to 7.3 days (in 2019 the average was 7.1 days).

USA, the fastest-growing market
In 2023, the main tourist markets for Spain experienced notable growth compared to previous years. The United Kingdom continued to top the list of issuing countries last year, with 17.3 million tourists, an increase of 14.6% compared to 2022. In terms of destination spending, UK citizens spent more than €19 billion in 2023, 16.3% more than in 2022 and 11.8% above 2019.

France has provided 11.8 million tourists to Spain in the past year, a growth of 17% over 2022 and 6% compared to 2019. As for the annual expenditure of French tourists, this amounted to 9,767 million euros, up 19.7% in 2022 and 28.6% compared to 2019.

For its part, Germany has grown by 10.6% compared to 2022, to 10.8 million international tourists; tourists who spent in accumulated 12 months more than 12.9 billion euros, which implies a 12.6% year-on-year increase and 11.1% more if compared to 2019.

At the head of the countries with the highest growth in 2023 is the United States, whose nationals visiting Spain have increased by 38.7% compared to 2022 and by 16.9% compared to 2019. The USA is also one of the markets with the highest increase in destination spending in 2023: more than 7,800 million euros, 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 is 31.9% compared to 2022. After the US, Switzerland – with a significant increase of more than 20% in tourists – is another of the countries that have experienced the greatest growth in the past year. “Both US and Swiss citizens correspond to a tourist profile with high purchasing power, which results in a significant increase in spending at the destination and therefore in the quality and excellence of our tourism offer,” said the minister.

Catalonia, the main destination
About the autonomous communities of destinations preferred by international tourists, Catalonia is at the head with more than 18 million visitors, 21.2% more than in 2022. After Catalonia comes 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, up 21.8%) and Madrid, which is the region with the highest year-on-year growth in 2023, up 29.6%, to more than 7.5 million. The rest of the regions grew by a total of 23.8% compared to last year.

In terms of expenditure, Catalonia is also the region with the highest expenditure in destination in 2023, 20,877 million euros an increase of 26.7% over the previous year. The Canary Islands, the second, is practically at the same level, with 20,333 million (and a growth of 16.5% year-on-year). Behind them, and already below 20 billion, are the Balearic Islands, with 17,722 million and an increase of 16.4%, and Andalusia, with 15,361 million, 28.1% higher than in 2022.

A record-breaking December
About the last month of the year, Spain received 5.2 million international tourists in December 2023, 26.2% more than in the same month of 2022. About total expenditure, in December this increased by 35.4% and reached 7,093 million euros.