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Travel and tourism in the Canary Islands - statistics & facts

The Canary Islands are the third most internationally visited region in Spain. Located off the coast of Morocco in the North Atlantic Ocean, this volcanic archipelago has become a major holiday destination for Europeans. With its subtropical climate and a vast array of landscapes, ranging from endless coastal dunes to millenary forests and even snow-capped volcanoes, the Canaries have something to offer for every kind of traveler and locals are aware of it. Tourism has been one of their key economic activities for decades, with its contribution to the regional GDP remaining at over 30 percent during the second half of the 2010s. For this reason, it is safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized the future of many islanders.

Tourism in the Canaries amid COVID-19

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the United Kingdom and Germany remained, along with mainland Spain, as the three most important tourism source markets for the popular Spanish archipelago. However, the volume of international tourism was still strongly affected by the crisis, dropping by more than 70 percent in 2020 versus the previous year. And despite the improvement recorded in 2021, the number of foreign visitors to the Canaries was still 60 percent below the pre-pandemic year.

What is the main destination in the archipelago?

The largest Canary Island, Tenerife, is by far the most visited destination in this Spanish autonomous community. In 2021, Tenerife received approximately 2.7 million international and domestic tourists. The United Kingdom is the main source market for tourism in that destination, even surpassing the volume of tourism originated in Spain’s mainland. Gran Canaria, the second most visited island, received nearly 1.8 million tourists in 2021. In this case, Germany was the most popular country of residence among visitors.

The importance of the hotel industry

As in most major tourist destinations, hotels play a key role in the Canary Islands. In fact, over 60 percent of tourists prefer to stay at hotels, mostly in 4-star establishments. In total, there were more than 370 hotels in the Canaries in 2021, of which six out of ten were in Tenerife and Gran Canaria. In that same year, these two destinations were responsible for two-thirds of 1.6 billion euros of total revenue generated by hotels in the Canary Islands.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Travel and tourism in the Canary Islands".

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