SPAIN welcomed a record 5.1 million foreign tourists in November, with nearly a million of them coming from the United Kingdom.

Figures published on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics(INE) showed a 18.6% rise on the same month in 2022 and a 10.5% rise on 2019- which was the previous record.

Spending reached €6.65 billion- an increase of 23.6% compared November 2022, and 31.4% more on the same month in 2019.

Foreign visitor arrivals stood at 79.8 million between January and November, 0.8% above 2019, just before the pandemic and what was then a record year.

Expenditure over those months was 17% higher than levels of five years ago.

The Canary Islands were the top November destination with 25.9% of the total.

They were followed by Catalunya (22.3%) and Andalucia (14.0%).

The figures indicate that the tourist sector has fully recovered after Covid-19 and December’s figures are expected to confirm that when they are published in a few weeks time.

Tourism is a crucial part of Spain’s economy and despite inflation and costlier mortgages, visitor numbers have not been dampened.

The figures for October and November also reflect increasing trends for overseas visitors to come to Spain outside the traditional summer season.

The United Kingdom was the main country of origin in November, with almost a million tourists- a rise of 15.2% compared to a year earlier.

French visitors stood at 0.6 million(up 9.0%) and Germany also on 0.6 million(up 18.5%).

Over the first 11 months of 2023, the United Kingdom accounted for over 16.4 million arrivals- up 14.4% on 2022.

Spending has been higher than in 2019 for months, as inflation has also been felt in the sector with a rise in costs and prices for hotels, transport, restaurants and leisure.

2019 closed with an expenditure of €92.27 billion and last year over the first 11 months, it has reached €101.56 billion, 24% more than 2022 and 17% above 2019 levels.

In November, according to the INE, the average expenditure per tourist was €1,294 euros, with an annual increase of 4.2%, while the average daily expenditure grew by 4.1%, to €173.

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