WE’VE had to put up with the Germans bagging the sunbeds. Now it’ll be the French grabbing all the best tables.

When it comes to tourism in Spain, Britain’s Gallic neighbour – and traditional arch rival – has overtaken the UK.

For the first time in decades – possibly since Napoleon’s troops swept through Spain before meeting their Waterloo with Wellington – French visitors have outnumbered Brits.

To make it even worse, the Germans have also overtaken the UK when it comes to the number of tourists landing on Spanish shores.

Just 378,000 Brits visited Spain in July when the UK government imposed quarantine restrictions on returning visitors… or a paltry 18% of the 2.2 million who arrived in July 2019.

By comparison, French visitors numbered 597,000 – still a big drop from the 1.43 million seen in the same month last year.

British Holidaymakers Visiting Mar Menor Tourist Area Of Spain May Have To Wear Masks Most Of The Time
Mar Menor holiday hotspot of La Manga.

Second spot in the ranking went to the 432,302 Germans who visited, compared to 1.24 million the previous year.

It is a historic reversal of trends – but perhaps a ray of light for the hard-hit Costa Blanca tourism industry.

Some 80% of French holidaymakers arrive in Spain by road meaning the Costa Blanca is within easy reach for many. 

With Catalunya – long a favourite for the French – put out of bounds due to coronavirus outbreaks, many kept on driving into the Valencia region.

The figures for August have yet to be released.

And with the UK government unlikely to remove the current, strict travel restrictions on visitors to Spain, it could put Britain’s annual tourism top spot in danger of being eclipsed too.

So if Britons are ever to emulate Wellington’s heroics and usurp the French, they will probably have to wait until next year.

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