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Tourism sector in Spain - statistics & facts

Spain is an established tourism market, not only in Europe —the region with the most tourist arrivals worldwide— but also globally. In 2013, Spain registered more than 100 million international visitors, this continued in an upward trend until 2019 when the number surpassed the 125 million mark. That latter figure represented more than 2.5 times Spain’s total population, which in that year added up to 47.1 million people. Tourism is, therefore, one of the major drivers of the Spanish economy. In the first half of the 2010s, the gross value added (GVA) of industries related to tourist accommodation and food services in the country was more than 50 billion euros in each respective year. This figure grew throughout the second half of the decade, reaching 70.3 billion in 2019. In that year, the Spanish tourism GDP surpassed 150 billion euros.

Impact of COVID-19 on tourism in Spain

The impressive performance of the tourism sector in Spain also meant a dramatic collapse when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic arrived. At the onset of the global crisis, international inbound tourism in the Spanish territory came to a halt for two months, and it remained significantly below pre-pandemic levels throughout 2020. For instance, in August of that year —which is usually the most active month for tourism in the country— Spain lost nearly 10.8 million international visitors versus August of 2018 and 2019. On a similar note, the consumption of tourism by Spanish residents went down strikingly in 2020, counting 77 million domestic trips and 15 million outbound trips less than those registered in the previous year.

Who visits Spain the most?

The international recognition of Spain as an attractive tourist destination has drawn visitors from all around the world. However, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have topped the list of leading source markets for tourism in Spain for several years. And despite the COVID-19 crisis, these countries remained at the head of the list in 2020. These three European nations accounted for roughly 9.5 million foreign tourists that year, or approximately one-quarter of the total international tourism volume in the Iberian country in those twelve months. From outside Europe, the United States and Brazil were the most popular countries of origin among foreign visitors in Spain in 2020.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 41 most important statistics relating to "Travel and tourism in Spain".

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