Expatica news

More tourists visited Spain, especially Catalonia

17 December 2004

MADRID-A total of 50.5 million foreign tourists visited Spain between January and November this year, the industry and tourism ministry said.

The figure represented a 2.9 percent increase over the equivalent period last year.

Tourism is Spain’s leading industry and it is the world’s second biggest tourist destination after France.

The most frequent visitors were from Britain, numbering 15.5 million, an increase of 2.6 percent, followed by the Germans with 9.5 million, likewise a 2.6 percent increase.

Then came the French with 7.04 million, a 3.7 percent reduction.

Catalonia in the northeast was the principal destination, followed by the Balearic Islands and the Canaries.

Meanwhile, Britons travelling abroad spent the most on visits to Spain.

The amount of money spent by UK residents abroad last year outstripped spending by overseas visitors to Britain by a record margin, according to official figures released.

UK residents spent a record GBP28.6 billion on foreign trips in 2003, while visitors spent only GBP 11.9bn in Britain, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Although the travel balance of payments deficit of GBP 16.7bn was an all-time high, the ONS said this year’s deficit was likely to be greater still, despite big-spending North Americans returning to the UK in greater numbers than in 2003.

Last year’s travel trends, based on responses from more than 250,000 travellers, showed that overseas visitors made 24.7m trips to the UK in 2003 – 500,000 up on 2002 – while UK residents made a record 61.4m visits abroad – 3 percent up on 2002.

EU countries made up 73 percent of UK residents’ visits abroad and received 57 percent of the money spent, with Spain accounting for GBP 5.8bn, France for GBP 3.7bn and the US for GBP 3.3bn.

Overseas residents stayed an average of eight nights in the UK and spent an average of  GBP 58 per day.

While Middle East visitors had the highest average spend per visit of GBP 1,489, Belgian trippers had the lowest with GBP 199 – reflecting the fact that on average they stayed in the UK for only three days.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news