SPAIN set an all-time new record in 2023 for foreign tourists, logging 85.1 million visitors who spent over €108 billion.

Arrivals were 1.6 million up on the pre-pandemic year of 2019, and 18.7% higher than in 2022.

Travellers from the United Kingdom totalled 17.3 million people, still slightly below the 18 million recorded five years ago.

That figure is expected to rise this year with a significant rise in flights planned between the UK and Spain.

France stood on 11.8 million arrivals to overhaul Germany- who are traditionally second- with 10.8 million.

It is possible that Spain could surpass France for the first time in foreign visitor numbers to become a world leader, with the French government yet to publish its figures which are expected to be between 79 and 85 million visitors.

WINTER TOURISTS IN BENIDORM(Cordon Press image)

The data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), shows that foreign expenditure in 2023 stood at €108.6 billion- 24.7% more than a year earlier and also well above the €91.9 billion in 2019.

Monthly spending figures have been setting consecutive all-time highs since November 2022.

In terms of spending, United Kingdom visitors remain top, with €19.9 billion(16.3% more than in 2022), but second place goes to Germany (€12.9 billion and a growth of 12.6%) and France is third(€9,7 billion and an increase of 19.7%).

The region that welcomed the most tourists last year was Catalunya, with 21.2 million, followed by the Balearic Islands, with 16.9 million; the Canary Islands, 16.4 million; Andalucia, 14.3 million; the Valencian Community, 12.3 million, and Madrid on 9.2 million.

The regions with the highest expenditure in 2023 were Catalunya(€20.8 billion- 26.7% more than in 2022); the Canary Islands (€20.3 billion and an increase of 16.5%); and the Balearic Islands (€17.7 billion, 16.4% more).

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