Spain received around 57.9 million tourists in 2012, representing an increase of 3% compared to the previous year, when the figure was 56.9 million.
This figure places 2012 as the third best year ever in the arrival of tourists to Spain after 2006 (58.4 million) and 2007 (59.2 million).
Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, said that “2012 has been a good year for tourism. Tourist arrivals have continued their revival which started in 2010.” Soria went on to announce that the Ministry’s forecasts for 2013 also point to growth in visitor arrivals, as well as in spending and the number of overnight stays made in the country.
The total spending by international tourists came to 55,777 million euros, an increase of 5.9%, while average spending per person rose by 2.7% to 968.8 euros, and the average daily expenditure per visitor increased by 6.8% and stood at 109.5 euros.
Overnight stays by foreign tourists up to November rose by 2.3% and amounted to 172.1 million, while total overnight stays fell by 1.7% (to 268.9 million), due to the fall in the domestic market.
The number of trips made by domestic tourists grew by 0.5% to 161.5 million, with a moderation in domestic travel and a decline in overseas travel.
The Minister said that this year tourism will continue to be an important sector of the Spanish economy and that the Government are to combine the promotion of Spain in traditional markets as well as in high potential emerging markets such as India, China, Russia and Brazil.
As for the data for 2012, Soria stressed that all the major source markets improved their figures compared to 2011, with the exception of Italy, whose visitors fell by 4.2%.
According to El Mundo, German tourist arrivals increased by 4.1%, French by 6.7%, British by 0.6% and Scandinavians by 6.2%.
In general, all the main preferred tourist destination regions received more international arrivals, except Andalusia and the Canary Islands, where they registered decreases of 1.7% and 0.8%, respectively.
Soria explained that the drop in the number of arrivals to the Canary Islands could be because their international tourist arrivals grew by 18% in 2011 due to the unrest in Arab countries, and called on the regional government to work toward gaining the “loyalty” of these tourists who would not have visited the islands if not for the conflicts in North Africa.
Catalonia received 9.8% more international visitors, mainly due to the increase in French tourists, while arrivals increased by 3.6% in the Balearic Islands, by 2.1% in Madrid and by 0.1% in Valencia.
As for spending, the British tourists spent 8.1% more, the Germans spent 4.7% more and the Scandinavians increased their spending by 9.8%, while the French reduced their total budget by 3.2% and the Italians by 5.8%.
The regions most visited with the highest growth in spending by international tourists were Catalonia (13%), Valencia (9%), the Balearic Islands (6.4%) and the Canary Islands (4.9%), while in Madrid the figures fell by 1.3%, possibly because in 2011 Madrid hosted the World Youth Day celebrations.