French visitors to Spain exceed Brits: INE

11 Oct 2021

The number of French tourists to Spain has surpassed the number of Brits for the first time in decades.

British visitors have been Spain’s most important foreign tourist market for years, with Spain becoming the UK’s preferred holiday location around 20 years ago. Yet this year more visitors from France are choosing Spain as their chosen destination, moreso than British or German tourists, as per Spain’s overall tourism figures. 

Spain’s tourism sector has been battered by the coronavirus crisis, with figures still not having reverted back to pre-pandemic levels. Despite domestic tourism soaring during the Covid crisis, the numbers aren’t enough to make up for the loss of overseas visitors – particularly British tourists – who opt to spend their holidays in Spain.

In August this year, there were just 5.2 million international arrivals into Spain, half the amount recorded from August 2019. In addition, between March and August 2020, some 6.2 million visitors from France travelled to Spain, twice the 3.1 million Brits over the same period. Indeed, 25% of the 25 million foreign visitors who passed through Spain over the pandemic were French, and 20% of all foreign tourism revenue - €1,183 million - came from France. 

Findings from the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE) underscore the rise in French tourists, reaching 874,189, or 19.9% of all arrivals, reports SchengenVisoInfo. Moreover, 707,331 tourists came from Germany (64.5% more than the year before) whilst 555,183 tourists visitors arrived from Britain, a 46.5% rise over 2020.

“The summer has been very good. We have hotels that have even done better than in August 2019,” said the president of AC Hotels by Marriott, Antonio Catalon to El Pais.