July has pulverized all existing tourism records in Spain. Never before have so many foreign visitors arrived in the country in a single month: 10.51 million, compared with the previous record of 10.02 million, which was set in August of last year, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).
The industry now awaits the figures for August, which is traditionally the strongest month for tourism. It remains to be seen whether the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils will have an effect on those numbers.
Catalonia was the main Spanish destination for tourists in July
The July record comes on the back of a year-on-year rise of 10.1% in tourist arrivals. Britain remains Spain’s biggest market, with 2.31 million British tourists coming here last month, representing 22% of all foreign visitors. France contributed 1.55 million tourists, and Germany 1.4 million.
The figures also show a surge in inflows from other countries: there was a 36.5% year-on-year increase in tourists from Ireland, a 23.9% rise in Russian visitors, and 17.7% more tourists from Switzerland.
Industry statistics also reflect changing habits. Tourists are increasingly staying away from organized packages and making their own travel arrangements. In July 2017, nearly 7.6 tourists traveled without a package, representing a year-on-year rise of 18.6%.
After surveying thousands of vacationers in popular destinations, the INE also found that all forms of accommodation are on the rise, but most particularly holiday apartments.
The number of visitors who used “market accommodation” (meaning they paid for it) grew 8.2% year-on-year. This figure breaks down into a 4.1% rise for hotels and 23.2% for tourist apartments.
Other types of non-paying accommodation grew 18.5%, representing people who stayed with friends and relatives, at their own holiday homes or who made other arrangements.
Catalonia was the main Spanish destination for tourists in July, attracting one out of four foreign visitors to reach a total of over 2.5 million, a 6.5% rise from July of last year. The Balearic Islands experienced a 5.3% increase in visitor numbers, to reach close to 2.5 million. The third most popular destination was Andalusia, with 1.4 million visitors and a year-on-year rise of 12.5%.
English version by Susana Urra.