In May, the number of international tourists arriving in Spain experienced a rebound of 9.7%, totaling 969,343 visitors. Furthermore, the year-to-date increase stands higher at 21%, with 5.9 million visitors, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Tuesday.
During May, the Canary Islands ranked as the fifth-largest tourist market, capturing an 11.8% market share. It was preceded by the Balearic Islands (21.9%), Catalonia (21.8%), Andalusia (14.7%), and Valencia (12.2%). The United Kingdom remained the primary source market, accounting for 43.9% of foreign tourists, followed by Germany at 14.8%.
Tourist spending also saw an increase of 3.6%, amounting to €1,272 million. The average expenditure per tourist stood at €1,312, reflecting a 5.6% decline compared to the same month last year. However, the average daily expenditure rose to €167, representing a 6.5% increase.
Moreover, the average duration of trips contracted by 11.4% to 7.9 days. When compared to May 2019, before the pandemic, international tourist arrivals grew by 8.3%, and spending increased by 15.8%.
On the domestic front, Spain welcomed a record-breaking 8.2 million international tourists in May, marking a 17.6% rise from the same month in 2022 and a 3.8% increase from May 2019, pre-pandemic.
These visitors also contributed to a record expenditure in May, reaching €9,723 million, an increase of 20.8% compared to the previous year and 19.5% when compared to the pre-pandemic peak.
In the first five months of the year, Spain welcomed 29.2 million international tourists, experiencing a growth of 27.9% compared to the previous year, with total spending reaching €35,405 million, a 31.9% increase from the same period in the previous year and 15.8% above 2019.
Héctor Gómez, the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, considers this summer to be a “historic” one for tourism in Spain, with today’s data on traveler arrivals and spending continuing the “extraordinary path of the past few months.”
The average expenditure per tourist in May amounted to €1,183, representing a 2.7% annual increase. The average daily expenditure also rose by 4.7% to €185, according to data from the Tourism Expenditure Survey (Egatur) conducted by the INE.
The average duration of trips for international tourists was 6.4 days, which is 0.1 days less than in May 2022. The majority of tourists stayed between four and seven nights, with over 4.2 million travelers opting for this duration, reflecting a 22.8% increase from the previous year.
CANARY ISLANDS: BRITISH TOURISTS, IN THE LEAD
British tourists continued to dominate, with 1.8 million visitors in May, a 10.4% increase compared to the same period in 2022. France and Germany followed as the next countries with the highest number of tourists visiting Spain, each contributing over one million visitors. French tourists witnessed a 24.1% annual growth, while German tourists increased by 8.7%.
Among other countries of residence, noteworthy annual growth in tourist numbers included visitors from the United States (38.8% increase compared to May 2022), making it the country with the highest growth this month, along with Portugal (+26.2%) and Belgium (+19.6%).
Regarding autonomous communities, the Balearic Islands welcomed 1.8 million tourists in May, reflecting a 10.2% increase from May 2022. The primary countries of origin for tourists in this region were Germany (31.3% of the total) and the United Kingdom (29.0%). Catalonia experienced a 21.7% increase in tourist arrivals, reaching close to 1.8 million, with 21.9% coming from France and 11% from the United States.
Andalusia ranked as the third most popular destination, attracting over 1.2 million tourists, reflecting a 16.5% annual increase. The United Kingdom remained the primary country of origin (25.5% of the total), followed by France (11.4%). Other communities also experienced growth, with a 26.3% increase in the Valencian Community, 23.3% in the Community of Madrid, and 9.7% in the Canary Islands.
During the first five months of 2023, Catalonia (with almost 6.1 million and a 37.5% increase compared to the same period in 2022), the Canary Islands (with almost 5.9 million and a 21.0% increase), and Andalusia (with almost 4.4 million and a 31.7% increase) received the highest number of tourists. Catalonia (20.9% of the total), the Balearic Islands (19.7%), and Andalusia (14.7%) were the autonomous communities with the highest share of tourist spending in May.
In terms of access routes, airports were the main point of entry for tourists in May, welcoming over 6.8 million visitors, representing a 12.8% annual increase. Ports saw a 9.4% increase, road travel increased by 52.8%, and rail travel witnessed a significant 92.7% surge in tourist arrivals.
Moreover, the number of tourists using commercial accommodations as their primary mode of lodging in May increased by 14.1% annually. Within this category, hotel accommodations grew by 11.6%, while rented housing saw a substantial 42.3% increase. Non-commercial accommodations increased by 39.7%. The number of tourists staying with family or friends increased by 34.6%, and those staying in owned properties increased by 30.6%.
The primary reason for travel for 7.2 million tourists in May was leisure, recreation, and vacation, reflecting a 20.9% annual increase. Business and professional reasons accounted for 438,618 visitors (a 19.1% decrease), and other reasons were reported by 608,790 tourists (an 18.3% increase).
Most tourists in May had a stay duration of four to seven nights, with over 4.2 million visitors and a 22.8% annual increase. The number of day-trippers increased by 17.6%, while tourists with longer durations (over 15 nights) witnessed a 17.7% rise.