Fewer tourists flock to Spain

MADRID – The arrival of foreign tourists to Spain increased in July compared to a year earlier although the figures remain far from the levels reached the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.

During the month, 4.4 million foreign tourists visited Spain, an increase of 78.3% over the previous year, when the country was reeling from the Covid pandemic, according to figures of the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

The largest number of visitors was French with 874,000 arrivals, an increase of 46.6% year-on-year, followed by 707,000 arrivals from Germany (up 64.5%) and 555,000 from Grande -Brittany (up 46.5%).

READ: Spain lifts outdoor mask requirement

The main destination was the Balearic Islands, which accounted for 30 percent of all visits, followed by the northeastern region of Catalonia with 18.5 percent.

Tourism spending reached 5.2 billion euros, an increase of 112% compared to the same month in 2020.

Before the pandemic struck in the spring of 2020, Spain was the second most popular tourist destination in the world after France, and the sector accounted for around 12% of the economy.

READ: Tourists rejoice as Spain opens up to vaccinated travelers

Although the numbers show improvement in Spain’s key tourism sector, the numbers are far from pre-pandemic levels, raising doubts about its ability to fully recover.

In the first seven months of 2021, 9.8 million tourists arrived in Spain compared to 47.9 million during the same period in 2019.

Over the same period, cumulative tourism spending reached 11.9 billion euros compared to 40.3 billion euros in 2019.

The Spanish government had said it hoped to attract around 45 million tourist visits this year, about half of 2019’s figure.

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