Spain set to smash tourism records in summer 2016

Spanish tourism is having a very good year indeed.


Spanish Tourism in Numbers

Last year, some 68 million tourists visited Spain and figures are expected to exceed 70 million in 2016.

Spain’s tourism sector is readying itself for a record number of arrivals this summer, boosted for the sixth year running. Ongoing security fears in other Mediterranean destinations such as Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey has also resulted in renewed interest in Spain as a safe tourist destination.  The anticipated summer boom follows a record number of arrivals between January and April of this year, some 18.1 million, up 13% on the same period in 2015.

To date in 2016, the most popular destinations that have welcomed the most international visitors are:

  •       Catalonia with 5,871,536 visitors (up 4.1% from last year)
  •       Canary Islands received 5,430,923 visitors (up 11.0%)
  •      Andalusia welcomed 3,743,392 international tourists (up 18.1%)

International Tourists according to Destination in 2016

      Andalusia has seen the biggest growth in international tourists so far in 2016, up 18.1% from 2015. The Costa del Sol received 1 million visitors in the month of May, an increase of 11.9% from last year, and is expected to reach record levels of over 6 million tourists during the peak season.

Visitors to Andalusia predominantly came from the UK (32.9%), followed by France (11.3%)

Holiday Rentals in Figures

The boost in tourism to Spain is great news for homeowners who rent out their properties to tourists.

Over one fifth (22%) of visitors stay in holiday rentals, campsites, rural accommodation and hostels, 

During the first 5 months of 2016, the number of overnight stays has increased 10.5% over the same period last year, with the average stay being 4.5 nights and a 34.5% occupancy rate in tourist apartments.

Nearly 80% (79.0%) of tourist apartments were rented by international tourists.  Latest figures available from the Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas ( indicate that British tourists represent the strongest market.

In 2016 to date, the most international visitors came from:

  •          UK – 5,822,105 tourists (up 16.1%)
  •          Germany – 3,799,676 tourists (up 5.6%)
  •          France – 3,753,803 tourists (up 7.6%)
  •          Scandinavian countries - 2,027,151 tourists (up 12.6%)

International tourist arrivals in 2016 according to country of origin

CountryNo. of Visitors to date in 2016% increase on previous year






Scandinavian Countries2,027,151


Rest of Europe1,631,922


Rest of World1,410,821









      The Balearic Islands are the overall top choice of tourist destination with 8.3 million registered overnight stays, principally from Germany (38%) followed by UK (28.1%).  As a result, there are areas in the Balearics were it is already impossible to find accommodation this summer.


Tourist DestinationTop Country of Origin% of tourists2nd Most Popular Country of Origin% of tourists
Canary IslandsUK42.2Germany22.7
Balearic IslandsGermany38.2UK28.1
MadridUSA18.5Rest of the World13.2

However, it is the Canary Islands – second overall most popular tourist destination with more than 7.4 million overnight stays – that are the most popular destination for holiday rentals.

San Bartolome de Tirajana (Gran Canaria), Arona (Tenerife) and Tias (Lanzarote) are noted as the most popular tourist resorts for self-catering accommodation. is also experiencing a bumper year with increases in web visitors up 13.2% so far in 2016.