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Spain received record-breaking 4.2 million tourists in January

Visitors spent €4.7 billion in the first month of the year, a 3.6% rise from the same period in 2018

Tourists in Seville in January.
Tourists in Seville in January.

The tourism boom continues unabated in Spain. The month of January set a new historical record for both tourist arrivals and spending: nearly 4.2 million visitors came to Spain, a 2.2% rise from the same month last year, and they spent a total €4.7 billion, 3.6% more than in January 2018.

The Canary Islands were visitors’ favorite destination

The strong January figures come on the back of a bumper year for the tourism industry: even though growth slowed down in 2018, the year ended with a new record of 82.7 million arrivals and spending of €89.9 billion.

According to figures released on Friday by the National Statistics Institute (INE), there were 4,196,939 international visitors in Spain in January, or 86,802 more than in January 2018. This is the sixth year in a row that Spain has set a new record for the month of January.

Britain was the main country of origin, with 807,347 visitors, followed by Germany with slightly over 500,000. Spain’s third-largest market, France, experienced a 8.7% drop to 446,307 visitors.

The greatest boost in tourist numbers came from the United States. There were 149,000 American visitors, a 25.5% rise from the same period last year. The Portuguese market has also grown a significant 21% to 141,000 visitors.

The strong January figures come on the back of a bumper year for the tourism industry

The Canary Islands were visitors’ favorite destination, as is typically the case at this time of the year. The islands, a Spanish archipelago located off the coast of northwestern Africa, welcomed 1.16 million international tourists, representing 27.6% of the total. The next most popular destination was Catalonia with 910,000 visitors, followed by Madrid and Andalusia with more than 500,000 visitors each.

Most tourists stayed at hotels (2.4 million), followed by holiday rentals (378,467 tourists).

Spending also reached a new historic high of close to €4.7 billion, a 3.6% rise from January 2018. This, however, is not what visitors spend in Spain as it includes airfare, which is paid in their countries of origin. But daily expenditure per tourist grew 5% to €138. The average stay was 8.1 days, slightly less than during the same period last year.

English version by Susana Urra.

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