Spain tops British holiday choices, led by the Canary Islands

Spain remains at very high levels of consideration for the British, being the main holiday country and the preferred country for sun and beach, to the point of being considered as the so-called ‘beach plus’, where this type of tourism is combined with other activities or experiences, as highlighted by Turespaña.

For the entity, a significant recovery of British tourism to Spain is observed, mainly from the summer of 2022, which continued in 2023 and, everything seems to indicate that it will continue in the present 2024, although not yet reaching the levels of 2019.

In this line, he refers to the current situation of economic instability in the United Kingdom, which “is causing a very significant loss of purchasing power among the population”, which “is inducing a certain relaxation in this general trend in the current year 2024, with the exception of the Canary Islands”.

Spain tops British holiday choices, led by the Canary Islands

Thus, it predicts that global levels prior to the Convid-19 pandemic could be reached, moving a possible more effective recovery to 2025.

Likewise, in recent years, our country has become the number one destination for the British when they travel abroad. Between April and June 2023, Spain’s market share in outbound tourism from this country was 18.4%. It was followed by France (8%) and the USA, which was the third most visited country (7.6%) and, at some distance, Italy (5.9%), Greece (5.6%) and Portugal (4.3%).

This is according to data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics, which highlights that other usual competitor countries have been relegated to smaller shares, such as Turkey (3.5%) and Egypt (0.3%). In addition, India (2.9%) and the United Arab Emirates (2.4%) stand out.

In 2023 as a whole, 17.3 million visitors from the UK arrived in Spain last year, an increase of 18.7% year-on-year, but 3.8% less than the same accumulated in 2019, with 683,855 fewer tourists, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), consulted by Europa Press.

Spain tops British holiday choices, led by the Canary Islands

However, in terms of spending, they did exceed the pre-pandemic figures, as the 17.3 million British visitors spent a total of 1,091.4 million euros, 11.8% more than in 2019 and 16% more than in 2022.


In addition, British tourists who visited Spain last year travelled predominantly for leisure (93% of the total) and stayed mostly in hotels (69%), followed, at a great distance, by rented accommodation (12%) and the homes of family or friends (9%).

On the other hand, middle-class tourists predominated (58%), with higher education (72%), as well as those who travelled as a couple (36%), followed by those who travelled as a family (27%). Their average age was 45.6 years, above the average age of all tourists (44.1 years).

Their main activities were enjoying the beach (76%), shopping (55%) and visiting cities (54%), with the majority choosing to travel without a package (58%). Their favourite destinations were the Canary Islands (31%), the Balearic Islands (21%) and Andalusia (15%).

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