Spain Tourism Statistics from 2017 to Current Day

Spain Tourism Statistics

Updated On: March 04, 2024 by   Marwa AlaaMarwa Alaa

Spain is one of the most stunning holiday destinations for Europeans and many international travellers worldwide. It has something unique and significant for each and every visitor thanks to its beautiful nature, diverse culture, distinctive art, gothic architecture, regional food, and friendly people. That is why it is no surprise that it is a key driver of the national economy, as it attracts millions of tourists annually.

Tourism statistics track changes in the tourism sector over a period of time. This numerical information determines the demographics of domestic and international visitors. It also indicates the most-visited cities and attractions, the expenditure pattern of each tourist, and the type of accommodation global visitors board. In this article, ConnollyCove analyses Spain tourism statistics and explains what its numbers really mean.

Spain in Numbers—Why Spain is Europe’s Best Destination

Spain Tourism Statistics from 2017 to Current Day

Tourism statistics help you plan your holiday amazingly. It provides an overview of the inbound and domestic tourism volume. So, before you decide to travel to Spain, take a look at the Spanish tourism statistics to plan your vacation based on real numbers.

  • The headquarters of the UNWTO, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation mandated to promote universally accessible and sustainable tourism, is in Madrid—Source: Spain Convention Bureau.
  • Before the pandemic, Spain was the second-most visited country after France—Reuters.
  • From 2013 to 2019, over 100 million travellers visited Spain annually, reaching 126.17 million visitors in 2019—World Data.
  • Spain’s Tourism contributes approximately 15% to the Spanish Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—Trading Economics.
  • From 1993 to 2022, the average tourism revenue in Spain was €3.47 billion—Trading Economics.
  • In 2016, jobs related to the tourism industry increased to 2.56 million, accounting for 13% of the national economy’s total employment. This percentage increased by 1.4% in comparison with 2010—INE.
  • The leading source markets for Spanish tourism are the UK, followed by France and Germany—Schengen Visa Info.
  • Most international tourists fly to Spain, followed by those who travel by land—UNWTO.
  • The primary purpose of travelling to Spain is to enjoy leisure activities—UNWTO.
  • More than 22.000 meetings were held in Spain in 2015 with over 3.8 million attendees—Spain Convention Bureau.
Tourism PowerhouseBefore the pandemic, Spain was the second-most visited country globally, attracting over 100 million tourists annually.
Economic EngineTourism contributes significantly to the Spanish economy, accounting for approximately 15% of the GDP.
Job CreationThe tourism industry generates a significant number of jobs, accounting for 13% of the national employment in 2016.
Shifting Source MarketsThe UK, France, and Germany are the leading source markets for Spanish tourism, but these markets may be changing.
Transportation PreferencesAir travel is the most popular mode of transportation for international tourists visiting Spain.
Leisure FocusedMost international tourists visit Spain for leisure activities. This highlights the country’s strong appeal as a vacation destination.
MICE TourismSpain is a popular destination for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) tourism, evidenced by the 22,000+ meetings held in 2015.
Spain in Numbers

The above data has been obtained from the following sources: World Data, Trading Economics, INE, Schengen Visa Info, UNWTO, Spain Convention Bureau, and GlobalData.

Spain Tourism Statistics—Forecasting 2024 and Beyond

  • The Spanish tourism industry is expected to continue its recovery in 2024, with a focus on attracting high-spending visitors and promoting sustainable practices.
  • Around 87.3 million international tourists are expected to visit Spain in 2024, with an increase of 3.8% compared to 2023. It is slightly higher than the average rate of 3.8% over the past 20 years.
  • Number of arrivals from the USA and the UK are expected to grow the fastest. The USA is expected to generate the most revenue in 2024.
  • The revenue is projected to grow by 3.1% between 2024 and 2028, reaching €24,1 billion in 2024. This growth will result in a market volume of €27.3 billion by 2028.
  • By 2025, around 89.5 million tourists from around the globe are expected to visit Spain.
  • By 2028, the Package Holidays market is expected to reach 24.5 million users, with a user penetration rate rising to 80.7%.
  • Online sales will play a significant role in Spain tourism industry, reaching 91% of total online-sales-generated revenue by 2028.
Overall GrowthContinued Recovery3.8% increase in international tourists expected in 2024, exceeding the average 20-year growth rate
Target MarketHigh-Spending VisitorsFocus on attracting tourists who spend more per trip
Emerging MarketsUS and UKFastest arrival growth anticipated from the US and UK, with the US expected to generate the most revenue in 2024
Revenue GrowthSteady IncreaseRevenue projected to grow by 3.1% between 2024 and 2028, reaching €27.3 billion
Visitor NumbersContinued Growth89.5 million international tourists expected by 2025
Distribution ChannelsOnline DominanceOnline sales projected to contribute 91% of total online-generated revenue by 2028
Package HolidaysGrowing PopularityPackage holidays market expected to reach 24.5 million users by 2028, with user penetration reaching 80.7%
Forecasting 2024-2028 Spain Tourism Statistics

The above data has been obtained from the following sources: GlobalData, Euromonitor International, Statista, and CaixaBank Research.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2023

Spain Tourism Statistics from 2017 to Current Day
  • 85.1 million international tourists visited Spain in 2023, marking a 19% increase from 2022 and a 1.9% increase compared to the record year of 2019—Spain Convention Bureau.
  • Foreign tourists spent a whopping €108.7 billion, representing a 24.7% increase from 2022 and an 18.2% increase compared to 2019—Spain’s Ministry of Industry and Tourism.
  • The UK, France, and Germany remained the leading source markets for Spanish tourism—Schengen Visa Info.
  • During the first quarter of 2023, 13.7 million international tourists travelled to Spain. This number was 41.2% more than the first quarter of 2022—Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE).
  • In the first three months, the tourism industry generated 2.6 million tourism-related jobs, with an increase of 5.20% compared to 2022—Dataestur.

In March

  • March emerged as the most popular month for tourism. A total of 5.3 million international tourists vacationed in Spain, 30.1% more than a year ago—INE. 
  • Total expenditure increased by 31.1%, reaching €6.7 million compared to the same month in 2022. The average daily spending grew by 6.6% to €168 per person—INE.
  • The number of nights stayed in hotels was 20.6 million, increasing by 17.10% compared to 2022. Nights stayed in campsites rose to 1.8 million, with a 27.6% increase, while nights in rural accommodations increased by 17.52% to 0.6 million—Dataestur.
  • Most tourists were from the UK because 1.1 million British tourists travelled to Spain. This number increased by 29.4% compared to 2022. Germany and France followed it with approximately 673 thousand (a 10.7% increase) and 613 thousand (a 34.1% increase) tourists, respectively—Trading Economics.
  • Tourists travelling to Spain from the USA, Portugal, and Italy grew by 74.1%, 51.1%, and 35.0%, respectively—Trading Economics. 
  • The most visited autonomous region was The Canary Islands, which accounted for 24.7% of Spain’s total arrivals. Catalonia and Andalusia followed it, accounting for 19.5% and 15.3% of the total arrivals, respectively—Trading Economics.
  • Outbound tourists travelling to Ireland by air increased by 31.5% to nearly 160 thousand—Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In February

Spain Tourism Statistics from 2017 to Current Day
  • Spain welcomed 4.32 million international tourists, with a 35.9% increase compared to February 2022—INE.
  • Foreign tourists spent €5.33 billion, which was €1.55 billion or 41.1% more than in February 2022. It also surpassed the pre-pandemic period of 2019 with €659 million—INE.
  • The average daily spending grew by 19.2% to €163 per person—La Moncloa.
  • Tourism revenue reached €4.10 billion, up from €4.08 billion in January 2023. It increased by 31.77% compared to February 2022—Statista.
  • A total of 3.5 million tourists travelled for leisure, with an increase of 33.3% in comparison with the previous year—La Moncloa.
  • The number of international hotel guests who spent an average of four to seven nights increased by 37.2% compared to the year before. There was also an increase of 27.1% in the number of those who spent between eight to 15 nights—La Moncloa.
  • In January and February, the number of international tourists increased by 49.1%, reaching approximately 8.5 million—INE.

In January

  • A total of 4.1 million international tourists vacationed in Spain. This number was 65.8% more than in January 2022—INE.
  • More than 742 thousand tourists travelled from the UK to Spain, accounting for 17.9% of total international tourists. It increased by 103.6% compared to January 2022. France and Germany followed it with more than 485 and 478 thousand tourists, respectively—INE. 
  • Tourists from the the USA, Italy, and Ireland increased significantly, with 102.8%, 78.6%, and 66.1% more than in January 2022, respectively—INE.
OverallStrong Recovery85.1 million international tourists, exceeding 2019 record (1.9% increase). Tourist spending at €108.7 billion, exceeding 2019 record (18.2% increase).
Source MarketsShifting LandscapeUK, France, and Germany remain top sources, but significant growth from USA, Portugal, and Italy (74.1%, 51.1%, and 35.0% increases respectively).
SeasonalityEarly PeakMarch emerged as the most popular month, with 5.3 million tourists (30.1% increase) and increased spending.
AccommodationDiversificationHotel stays increased by 17.10%, with significant growth also observed in campsites (27.6%) and rural accommodations (17.52%).
Visitor ProfilesLonger Stays and Higher SpendingAverage daily spending increased in most months (e.g., March: 6.6%, February: 19.2%). Longer stays observed for hotel guests (4-7 nights: 37.2% increase, 8-15 nights: 27.1% increase).
2023 Spain Tourism Statistics

Spain Tourism Statistics 2022

  • Spain welcomed 71.66 million international tourists in 2022. Most tourists were from the UK, as it received around 15.12 million British visitors. France and Germany followed it with 10.10 and 9.77 million tourists, respectively—INE.
  • The autonomous community of Catalonia was the most visited Spanish region with over 14.9 million international tourists, 1.65 thousand more than the tourists who visited the Balearic Islands—Statista.
  • In May, the number of international tourists increased by 411.1% to 7 million compared to the same month in 2021, with only 1.4 million tourists—INE.
  • Spain hosted 13.5 million international tourists in December, with an 11.9% increase in comparison with the previous year—Dataestur.
  • Tourism revenue in January reached €2.50 billion, which increased €2.09 billion compared to the same month in 2021. It rose to €5.51 billion in April. Then, it jumped to €9.34 billion in July, registering the highest tourism revenue in 2022—Trading Economics.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2021

  • The total number of arrivals started to recover after the breakdown of COVID-19. Spain received 51,63 million inbound tourists, up from 36.41 million in 2020.
  • 91.4% of international tourists were from Europe, and this percentage increased by over 3% compared to 2020. 
  • Spain welcomed nearly 5.8 million tourists from France and 5.2 million from Germany.
  • The number of tourists from the Americas declined by approximately 1% compared to 2020.
  • This year’s most popular Spanish destination was The Balearic Islands, followed by Catalonia and the Canary Islands.
  • International overnight visitors who stayed in hotels were 31.2 million, while excursionists who left on the same day were 20.5 million.
  • Overnight tourists spent 114.39 thousand nights in tourist accommodations, which accounted for 19% of the EU total.
  • Barcelona was one of the top ten European destinations that had the highest number of overnights. It was also among the world’s top destinations for remote workers, ranking second in average Wi-Fi speed and third in the number of co-working spaces.
  • 92.7% of international tourists travelled for leisure, while 7.3% travelled on business.
  • Spain ranked second in the world in terms of international meeting destinations, up from fourth in 2019.
  • 78.4% of foreign tourists travelled to Spain by air, which increased by 6.3% compared to the year before.
  • Travelling by land declined by 20.9% compared to 2020, which was 26.7%.
  • The tourism GDP’s contribution increased from 5.8% in 2020 to 8.0% in 2021, reaching €97,126 million. 
  • The tourism industry generated 2.27 million tourism-related jobs, which accounted for 11.4% of the total employment.
  • The first quarter of this year witnessed low tourism revenue. February had the lowest revenue of €302 million, contrary to the previous year in which it had the highest revenue.
  • August has the highest tourism revenue, with €4.96 billion, followed by October, with €4.58 billion.
  • Domestic tourists took around 136 million trips, with the spending reaching €27 billion.
  • 54.1% of the Spaniards who had 15 years and above participated in tourism. Spaniards between the age of 45 and 64 were the group of people who travelled the most.
Overall ArrivalsReboundSignificant increase (41.8%) compared to 2020, signalling post-pandemic recovery.
Source Market ShiftEuropean Dominance91.4% of tourists from Europe, showcasing a regional focus (increase of 3% compared to 2020).
Top Source MarketsFrance and Germany LeadFrance and Germany remained top source markets, with nearly 5.8 million and 5.2 million tourists, respectively.
Americas DeclineSlight DipDecrease in tourists from the Americas compared to 2020.
Popular DestinationsIsland AppealBalearic Islands, Catalonia, and Canary Islands remained the most popular destinations.
Accommodation TrendsOvernight Stays DominateMore overnight stays (31.2 million) compared to same-day trips (20.5 million).
Barcelona’s AppealTop European DestinationRanked among the top 10 European destinations for overnight stays and top destinations for remote workers (Wi-Fi, co-working spaces).
Purpose of TravelLeisure Focus92.7% of tourists travelled for leisure, highlighting the sector’s focus on vacation experiences.
MICE TourismGlobal RecognitionRanked second in the world for international meeting destinations, signifying Spain’s growing importance in business tourism.
Transportation ShiftAir Travel PreferenceSignificant increase in air travel (78.4%) compared to land travel (decrease of 20.9%).
Economic ImpactRecovering ContributionTourism GDP contribution increased to 8.0%, showcasing the sector’s gradual recovery.
Job CreationContinued Support2.27 million tourism-related jobs generated, accounting for 11.4% of total employment.
SeasonalitySummer Peak RemainsAugust had the highest revenue (€4.96 billion), followed by October (€4.58 billion), highlighting the summer season’s dominance.
Domestic TourismActive Market136 million domestic trips taken by Spaniards, indicating a strong domestic market.
Domestic Travel DemographicsAge-Specific TrendSpaniards aged 45-64 travelled the most, demonstrating the active participation of this age group in domestic tourism.
2021 Spain Tourism Statistics

The above data has been obtained from the following sources: UNWTO, Statista, Eurostat, INE, Trading Economics, and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

Spain Tourism Statistics 2020

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe, the number of international visitors to Spain declined by 77.3% to 36.41 million—World Data.
  • The British, German, and French tourists exceeded 15 million—Statista.
  • A total of 18.93 million visitors spent their nights in hotels, while 17.48 million travelled back on the same day—UNWTO.
  • International tourists and Spaniards spent around €15 billion on food and beverages—Statista.
  • February had the highest tourism revenue, with €3.70 billion. However, Spain received no tourism revenue in April and May due to the spread of COVID-19—Trading Economics.
  • In July and August, tourism revenue grew again, reaching €2.12 and €2.17 billion, respectively. Revenue declined in the last four months of the year to more than half of August’s revenue—Trading Economics.
  • Although August is the most active month for tourism, Spain lost approximately 10.8 international tourists compared to the same month in 2019—Statista.
  • The number of international visitors who made cultural trips declined by 77% to 3.3 million compared to the previous year—Statista.
  • The number of visits to museums decreased by 68.9% to 20.4 million—Dataestur.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2019

Spain Tourism Statistics from 2017 to Current Day
  • The total number of visitors peaked at 126.17 million, and this number represents around 2.5 times the total population of Spain (47.4 million residents)—World Data.
  • A total of 83.51 million tourists stayed in hotels, while 42.66 million were excursionists—UNWTO.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) of tourist accommodation and food service-related industries jumped to more than €70 billion in 2019, representing a 24% increase compared to 2010—Statista.
  • 82.3% of international travellers were air passengers, while 15.7% travelled by land—UNWTO.
  • 85.47% of arrivals were from Europe. The Americas followed with 8.49%. East Asia and the Pacific ranked third with 3.56%—UNWTO.
  • A total of 18.01 million tourists came from the UK. Germany and France followed with 11.16 and 11.15 million, respectively—INE.
  • Touching €9.41 billion, tourism revenue reached its peak in August compared to previous years. July received the second-highest revenue after August, with €9.29 billion—Trading Economics.
  • January and February had the lowest revenue, with €3.56 and €3.56 billion, respectively—Trading Economics.
  • The tourism industry contributed approximately €154 million to the Spanish economy. This figure accounted for 12.4% of the Gross Domestic Product, 0.3% more than in 2018—INE.
  • Jobs related to the tourism industry reached 2.72 million, representing 12.9% of the total employment, 0.1% fewer than in 2018—INE. 

Spain Tourism Statistics 2018

  • Spain hosted 124.46 million travellers, with 2.74 million more than in the previous year.
  • A total of 82.81 million international tourists spent nights in tourist accommodations, while the rest left on the same day.
  • The number of British tourists slightly decreased to 18.50 million in comparison with 2017, which was 18.81 million.
  • Germany had the second-highest number of tourists with 11,41 million, followed by France with 11.34 million.
  • Tourism-related jobs reached €2.62 million, representing 12.7% of the total employment, 0.3% more than in 2017.
  • The tourism industry generated nearly €148 million. This figure accounted for 12.3% of the Gross Domestic Product, 0.1% more than in 2017. It has increased by 1.3% since 2015. 
  • The contribution of Spain’s international tourism industry accounts for 40% of Southern Europe’s total. 
  • August had the highest tourism revenue with €9.16 billion, followed by July with €8.95 billion. However, the lowest revenue was in January and February, with €3.47 and €3.45 billion, respectively.
  • Sports tourism activity generated €2.44 billion, with an increase of 10% compared to 2017.
  • Residents spent €1.03 billion on sport-related trips, up from 957 million in 2017. However, international tourists spent €1.41 billion, up from €1.26 billion in 2017.
Overall ArrivalsGrowthIncreased by 2.74 million visitors (2.2%) compared to 2017.
Overnight StaysDominance82.81 million tourists (66.5%) stayed overnight, indicating a preference for longer visits.
Source Market ShiftsMixed PerformanceSlight decrease in British tourists, but Germany and France emerged as the second and third largest source markets, respectively.
Job CreationContinued GrowthTourism-related jobs increased by 0.3%, highlighting the sector’s contribution to employment.
Economic ImpactSteady ContributionTourism industry generated 12.3% of GDP, showcasing its significance to the Spanish economy.
Regional DominanceLeading RoleSpain’s tourism industry contributed 40% of Southern Europe’s total, demonstrating its regional leadership.
SeasonalityStrong Summer PeakAugust and July generated the highest revenue, revealing a pronounced summer seasonality.
Sports TourismGrowing SegmentRevenue increased by 10%, indicating the rising popularity of sports tourism in Spain.
Domestic vs. International SpendingBoth IncreasedBoth domestic and international tourists increased their spending on sports-related trips compared to 2017.
2018 Spain Tourism Statistics

The above data has been obtained from the following sources: World Data, UNWTO, INE, Trading Economics, and La Moncloa.

Spain Tourism Statistics 2017

  • A total of 121.71 million tourists vacationed in Spain, with an increase of 6.15 million compared to 2016.
  • The number of overnight visitors was 81.87 million; however, the number of same-day visitors was 39.85 million.
  • British tourists reached 18.81 million, increasing by 1.13 million in comparison with the year before.
  • German tourists amounted to 11.90 million, while French tourists reached 11.26 million.
  • The tourism industry’s contribution to the Spanish economy accounted for 11.8% of GDP. It increased by 0.6% in comparison with 2016, which represented 11.2% of GDP.
  • July had a tourism revenue of €9.01 billion, making it the highest revenue in 2017. It was followed by August, which had a revenue of €8.92 billion.

The above data has been obtained from the following sources: World Data, UNWTO, INE, Trading Economics, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Most Visited Cities in Spain—With Statistics

Spain has something to offer everyone, from its stunning beaches and vibrant cities to its rich history and culture. Here are the most visited cities in Spain based on the number of overnight stays by international tourists in 2023, 2022, and 2021, according to Statista and TrustYou.

Most Visited Cities in Spain 2023

  • Barcelona remained a popular choice with 9.2 million visitors in 2023, followed by Seville, Valencia, and Palma de Mallorca with around 3 million visitors each.
  • Madrid witnessed a significant surge, recording 14.7 million visitors in 2023, with 43% increase from 2022.

Most Visited Cities in Spain 2022

  • In 2022, Barcelona was the most popular city in Spain because of its works of architecture and art. It is also well-known for its fantastic beaches, good weather, competitive sports, and regional gastronomy. Its hotel establishments welcomed 5.84 million international overnight tourists this year. 
  • The second most visited city in Spain in 2022 was Madrid because a total of 4.31 million international overnight tourists stayed at its hotel establishments. It has been among the top 10 European cities where tourists spend nights in its tourist accommodations. However, the daily expenditure of international visitors in 2022 declined by 18% to €281 per person compared to the previous year. 
  • Madrid’s most popular art museum in 2022 was the Museo Reina Sofía. Its number of visitors grew by 186% to over three million compared to 2021. It registered the highest number of visitors in 2019, with approximately 4.5 million tourists. 
  • Palma de Mallorca was Spain’s third most-visited city in 2022, with over 1.94 million international overnight guests. As the largest of the Balearic Islands, it has numerous seaside resorts and bays. It also offers several hiking tours through its mountainous environment.

Most Visited Cities and Attractions in Spain 2021

  • Park Güell registered more than 1.01 million international visitors in 2021, making it Barcelona’s most visited attraction. 
  • With approximately 240 thousand visitors fewer, La Sagrada Família was Barcelona’s second most-visited attraction in 2021. During the pandemic of 2020, visits to La Sagrada Família declined sharply to 763 thousand compared to 2019, when 4.72 million tourists visited it.

We have analysed the Spanish tourism statistics. Now, you know everything about Spain’s most visited cities and attractions and can plan a fantastic itinerary with your family or friends.

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