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07 June 2024

The British market accounted for 16.4% of tourist spending in Spain in the first quarter of 2024

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Spain continues to be the top holiday destination for the British, according to a study by the Secretary of State for Tourism. This market ranked first in terms of tourist expenditure in our country in the first quarter of 2024, accounting for 16.4% of the total, and in terms of tourism flows (18.4% of the total). In addition, there was significant growth compared to 2023 in visitors (+15.1%) and nominal expenditure (+26%), according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

In the United Kingdom, Spain's image continues to be held in very high regard, being the destination of choice for sun and sand holidays, and Britain's favourite holiday destination. According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Spain has become the number one destination for Britons travelling abroad in recent years. Between July and September 2023, Spain's market share in outbound tourism from this country was 21.8%. It was followed by France (11.6%), Greece (7.4%) and, at a certain distance, Italy (5.6%), Portugal (5%) and Turkey (4.9%). Other countries that stood out in other quarters, such as the US and Ireland, were relegated to smaller shares in Q3 (4% and 3.9% respectively). The remaining countries account for shares of less than 3%.

In 2023, 17.3 million British tourists visited Spain, representing 20.4% of the total number of tourists received, placing the UK in an undisputed first place, surpassing the second largest source market, France, by more than five and a half million tourists. This leadership is also repeated in terms of expenditure figures: tourists from the UK spent €19.9 billion, accounting for 18.4% of the total, way ahead of Germany (11.9%) and France (9.0%). The average spend per person per day was €1,151 and €166, respectively, while the average stay was 6.9 nights.

69% in hotels

British tourists who visited Spain last year travelled predominantly for leisure (93% of the total) and stayed mainly in hotels (69%), followed a long way off by rented accommodation (12%) and the homes of family or friends (9%). Tourists were predominantly middle class (58%), with higher education (72%), as well as those who travelled as a couple (36%), followed by those who travelled as a family (27%). Their average age was 45.6 years, above the average age of all tourists (44.1 years).

The main activities they did were going to the beach (76%), shopping (55%) and visiting cities (54%), with the majority opting for non-package travel (58%). And their favourite destinations were the Canary Islands (31%), the Balearic Islands (21%) and Andalusia (15%), according to a Turespaña estimate based on INE microdata.