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International tourist arrivals in Spain 2020, by country of residence

Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world, with its number of international visitors amounting to nearly 84 million in 2019. In 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to reach those levels. France, the United Kingdom and Germany remained the top source markets for the country, as confirmed by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE).

The United Kingdom "dethroned" by France

The United Kingdom has been traditionally the main country of origin in the past few years, with the number of British tourists in Spain passing the 18-million mark in years 2017, 2018 and 2019. Nevertheless, first Brexit and then coronavirus led to a significant drop and the subsequent loss of the "thrown" to France in 2020. Despite the situation, French tourists visiting Spain amounted to nearly four million that year. In any case, those numbers were down from the average of 11 million in previous years.

Tourism: an essential industry for the Spanish economic system

Travel and tourism have become one of the leading engines of growth for the Spanish economy. The tourism sector’s contribution to GDP in Spain has been increasing over the last years and, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), was projected to reach approximately 178 billion euros. The industry also plays a key role to boost the Spanish employment market, which had been experiencing a significant improvement before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Number of international tourists arriving in Spain in 2020, by country of residence

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Release date

February 2021



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden.

** Provisional data.

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Statistics on "Inbound tourism in Spain"

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