One Million Fewer British Tourists Visited Spain in 2023 

Twenty million British passengers visited Spain between January and November 2023, representing a 5% decrease from the year before Covid

According to recent data from Spain’s national tourist authority, Turespaña, the number of British tourists visiting Spain in 2023 significantly dropped by over one million compared to 2019. This downturn in tourism was likely due to the travel restrictions and safety measures put in place by both countries to curb the spread of the virus. The decrease in British tourism is a blow to the Spanish tourism industry, which heavily relies on UK holidaymakers as a key source of revenue.

An Increase Compared to 2022

According to the data, in the first 11 months of 2019, 21.1 million British nationals travelled to Spain, making up about 24% of the total 88.4 million international visitors that year. However, in 2023, the number of British tourists dropped, accounting for 22.7% of the total visitors to Spain. Despite the decline, the number of British tourists up to November is 15.5% higher than in 2022, when 18.8 million British nationals visited Spain. Despite the decrease compared to 2019, these figures show Spain is still popular among UK tourists in spite of the challenges caused by the pandemic and other factors.

Regarding international tourism, the latest data shows that the number of Italian and French tourists who visited Spain by plane this year has overtaken the pre-pandemic figures, with a growth rate of 10% and 5.4%, respectively. On the other hand, the number of German tourists visiting Spain this year is 9% less compared to the same period between January and November 2019. 

However, Spain has seen an increase in the number of tourists from the Netherlands, with a growth rate of almost 6%, while the number of tourists from Portugal has increased significantly by 24%. Additionally, the number of tourists from Ireland has increased substantially by nearly 17% in the first eleven months of this year compared to the same period in 2019. 

These findings suggest that despite the pandemic, Spain remains a popular destination for tourists from all over Europe.

The Spanish Travel Sector Recovers

According to the latest statistics, international passengers who travelled to Spain from January to November this year reached 88.4 million, which is 18.2% higher than the number recorded during the same period last year. Although there was a significant drop in international travel due to the pandemic, it is worth noting that the current figures are only 0.1% lower than those recorded in 2019, which indicates a recovery in the travel industry. This positive trend is particularly encouraging for the Spanish tourism sector, which heavily relies on international visitors to support its economy.

Jordi Hereu, the Minister of Tourism, said the increase in tourists outside what is deemed the high season is good news for Spain’s tourism sector, as it shows destinations are diversifying. Many regions are seeing an increase in tourism outside the summer months.

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