May tourism figures best ever for Spain!

Tourists enjoying San Sebastiá beach in Sitges, Catalonia


According to the IET - Spain’s Institute of Tourism Statistics, Spain registered the best ever tourism figures for the month of May, as recorded by Frontur, the government research agency. The report shows a 7.4 % increase of foreign visitors year-on-year, a growth of nearly 400,000 tourists on 2012. British tourists represented the majority, with Germans following in second place.   

During the period, January to May, Spain saw a total of 19.8 million international visitors, showing a year-on-year increase of 3.9%. Scandinavian, French and then British visitors, in this order, were the main growth contributors. With the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and the Valencian Community, the most visited regions. 

A fairly new addition to the Frontur report, is the Russian market, which showed a year-on-year increase in visitors. May is a particularly important holiday period for Russians, who celebrate two bank holidays in a row during the month and often take their main holiday during this time. The number of American tourists is also up a third on last year’s figures.  

Visitor spotlight
During May the British market was up 9.4% and for the second month in a row generated the highest visitor increase. Nearly 1 in 3 Brits chose the Balearic Islands as their preferred destination. May also saw a 13.2% increase in German visitors. Again the Balearic Islands was the favoured destination, with Catalonia seeing the highest German visitor growth rate.  

The French market was up 5.9%, May becoming the seventh growth month in succession. Catalonia is the principal destination for French visitors, with the Valencian Community and Madrid also popular destinations.  

The Scandinavian market registered a strong increase of 20.2% in May, the thirteenth month of increase in succession. The ever-popular Balearic Islands was the principal destination. The Dutch tourist market increased by 6.8%, with the Balearic Islands and Andalucia their favoured destinations.  

Other growth markets highlighted in the report were Italy, Belgium and Switzerland.  

Most popular destinations
Catalonia continued to be the most popular destination in Spain, receiving 1.5 million tourists during May and for the 16th month in succession the figures were positive.  

The Balearic Islands occupied second position, with a 13.2% increase and around 1.4 million tourists. Andalucia received around 780,000 tourists, a 5.7% increase year-on-year, with Scandinavian, British and Dutch tourists its principal visitors. 

The Canary Islands saw an overall 8.5% improvement, thanks to a 10.5% increase in British visitors during May.  The number of visitors to the Valencian Community grew for the seventh month in a row, with a 17.4% increase in international visitors, mainly due to an increase in British and Scandinavian tourists. 

Madrid was the only region to see a month-on-month decrease (-8.6%), breaking its growth from the two months prior. 

Travel, accommodation and booking
Air travel was the principal form of travel for visitors, with 83.3% choosing to fly to Spain. And it seems the package holiday is in decline, as 71.2% of visitors chose to plan and book their holiday independently.