SPENDING by foreign tourists in Andalucia plummeted by at least €9.6 billion in 2020, new figures have revealed.
The most populous region, which includes the Costa del Sol, received 9.3 million fewer international travellers due to coronavirus pandemic.
The grim data has been released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the Tourist Expenditure Survey (Egatur) and the Border Movements Survey (Frontur).
The depressing reports show that in 2020, just 2.7 million foreign tourists visited Andalucia, a whopping 77.5% less than in 2019.
They also spent just €2.877 billion, representing a year-on-year decrease of 76.8%.
In 2019, the Brits, French and others spent a record-breaking €12.528 billion in Andalucia.
The region and Spain was set for another record-breaking year following several years of steady growth. But the sudden halt to the industry following the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in March proved catastrophic.
While the country opened back up in the summer, that was short lived as a second wave hit in September and tougher restrictions were brought back.
The figures would have likely been far dire for 2020 had the region not enjoyed an almost restriction-free first quarter.
The sobering statistics are mirrored nationally, with foreign tourist numbers dropping by 77.3%, with just 19 million holidaymakers flying in from abroad in 2020.
Those 19 million spent a total of €19.74 billion, representing a year-on-year drop of 78.5%.
Just a year earlier, the vital tourism industry saw foreing visitors bring in a record €92.278 billion.
Andalucia was the third most visited region by foreing tourists, accounting for 14.3% of those who visited the country. It was preceded by Catalunya, home to Barcelona, and the Canary Islands, which took 25% of foreign tourists’ spending last year.
The tourists which came to Spain in 2020 were mostly from France, the UK and Germany.
But Brits saw the biggest drop, with 82.4% fewer visiting Spain last year compared to 2019.
The number of French and German visitors fell year-on-year by 65.2% and 78.4% respectively.
In a slice of good news, the small number of tourists who visited Andalucia increased their budgets by 3% on the year before, averaging at €1,064 each.
They also stayed for longer, with the average holiday lasting 9.5 days, a year-on-year increase of 13.8%.