Canary Islands see surge in international air passengers in early 2024

The Canary Islands have experienced a significant surge in international air passengers, welcoming over 4.3 million visitors in the first quarter of 2024, marking a 14.8% increase from the previous year.

The Canary Islands welcomed over 4.3 million international air passengers in the first quarter of 2024, marking a 14.8% increase compared to the same period in 2023. According to data released today by Turespaña, the islands saw a particularly notable influx in March, with 1.5 million passengers arriving, an 18.5% increase from the previous year.

Across Spain, the total number of international air passengers reached nearly 20 million in the first quarter, a 16% increase year-on-year. The growth was especially pronounced in March, with significant increases from markets such as Poland, Switzerland, and Italy.

Positive Trends and Seasonal Changes in the Canary Islands

Canary Islands see surge in international air passengers in early 2024

Jordi Hereu, the Minister of Industry and Tourism, noted that these figures reflect “not only the robust health of our tourism sector and international confidence in the quality of our destinations but also the ongoing process of reducing seasonality in tourist arrivals, effectively blurring the lines between high and low seasons.”

The month of March continued the positive trend seen earlier in the year, with a 16.8% year-on-year increase in international air passengers, totaling 7.6 million. Of these, 57% came from within the European Union, showing a 19.9% increase, while passengers from other parts of the world, comprising 43% of the total, rose by 13.9%.

March saw increases in arrivals from all major source countries. Noteworthy were the spikes in arrivals from Poland (80.4%), Germany (22.2%), Switzerland (21.4%), and Italy (21.2%). Significant growth was also observed from China, South Korea, and Canada, each exceeding 100%.

Major Contributing Markets

Canary Islands see surge in international air passengers in early 2024

The United Kingdom was the largest source of international passengers to Spain in March, with 1.6 million arrivals, accounting for 20.7% of the total and showing a year-on-year increase of 10.3%. The Canary Islands received the highest proportion of British visitors, comprising 36.7% of the total UK arrivals.

Regions like the Valencian Community, Andalusia, Catalonia, and Galicia also saw significant increases in arrivals, each reporting over 10% year-on-year growth. The majority of British passengers (82.3%) travelled on low-cost airlines, with the UK leading in such arrivals, making up 28.7% of the total.

German passenger arrivals slightly exceeded one million (14% of the total), with a 22.2% year-on-year increase. Most German visitors headed to the Canary Islands (32%) and the Balearic Islands (23.4%). Less than half of the German travellers (47.1%) used traditional airlines, with Germany leading in arrivals via these carriers at 16.3% of the total.

Italy accounted for 9.4% of the passenger flow in March (717,575 passengers), with a 21.2% increase year-on-year, benefitting regions such as Catalonia and the Community of Madrid. The Basque Country and Asturias saw remarkable growth rates exceeding 100%. Italian passengers predominantly used low-cost airlines (79.6%), a 23.9% increase from the previous year.

Canary Islands see surge in international air passengers in early 2024

France contributed 7.5% of the total passengers in March, with a 14% increase that particularly boosted arrivals in Madrid, Catalonia, and Valencia. Most French travellers (65.3%) opted for low-cost airlines, growing 11.2% year-on-year.

Lastly, the Netherlands accounted for 4.8% of all passengers, with a 12.3% increase in March. Catalonia, Valencia, and Andalusia were the main destinations, collectively receiving 62.7% of Dutch arrivals. A significant majority of Dutch passengers (72.4%) chose low-cost airlines.

Regional Highlights and Airport Performance

The six main receiving regions in Spain accounted for 97.4% of the total arrivals, all experiencing increases in March. Andalusia led with a 22.5% year-on-year increase, while the Community of Madrid had the most moderate growth at 11.7%.

Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport recorded the highest number of arrivals in March with 1.9 million passengers, followed by Barcelona with 1.5 million, and Malaga with 726,031. Malaga airport had the highest year-on-year increase at 21.6%, followed by Valencia with 20.2%.

These trends highlight the Canary Islands’ growing appeal as a year-round destination and reflect the broader positive momentum in Spain’s tourism sector as it continues to attract more international visitors.

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