BRITS are still the big spenders of Spanish tourism, accounting for nearly one fifth of total tourist expenditures in the first half of 2023.

The English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish have long been the greatest contributors to the Spanish tourism economy.

But the accolade is tempered by the fact that, despite contributing a winning 18% of cash spent, Brits also send a first-place 20.7% of all tourists in Spain – not quite reaching par.

Coming in second and third, the Germans and the French are almost neck and neck in terms of tourist total.

But second place France accounts for a just paltry 7.9% of total spending despite providing 13% of the visitors, 

The Germans just about reach par with 12.7% of spending from 12.9% of the tourists.

Other notable statistics from Spanish tourism institute Turespaña includes a remarkable 420% surge in the number of Chinese tourists coming to Spain. 

And, indicating that businesses may in the future start to court the Chinese ahead of traditional – if underspending – European visitors, their expenditures increased by 592% compared to the previous year.

It remains to be seen whether the level of spending will be sustained, since it could represent a splurge of spending pent up by Beijing’s draconian, three-year lockdown.

Arrivals from South Korea and Japan grew by 258.4% and 200% respectively, but like their democratic cousins in Europe their spending also failed to keep pace with their numbers.

And the perennial favoured tourists?

Despite habitual grumblings in Europe about our friends across the water, it is once again the big-spending Americans who provide most bang for their buck.

The number of American tourists grew by 54.7%, but their spending grew an impressive 61%.

With the ETIAS system set to come into effect sometime next year, Brits and Americans – and all non-EU visitors – will find themselves having to fill in forms and pay €7 to enter the Schengen zone.

The new proposal has seen much gnashing of teeth, both from Spanish tourism bosses afraid it will hit their income, to British and American tourists, irked at the additional barriers.

Despite British plans to introduce their own reciprocal system for EU visitors, it is in fact the US which introduced such a system first.

They brought in the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) back in 2008, which sees both Brits and EU visitors paying as much as $21 to enter the United States.


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