Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

British tourists boost Spain's holiday arrivals

MADRID: The number of tourists coming to Spain rose over eightfold during the first quarter compared to last year, boosted by returning British holidaymakers, AFP reports.

Tourist arrivals reached 9.7 million between January and March, up from 1.2 million a year back, the national statistics agency INE said Thursday. Arrivals from Britain -- Spain's largest market -- stood at 1.8 million, nearly 30 times the figure in 2021.

"Month after month, tourism continues its consolidation," Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto said in a statement, adding she was "optimistic" for the rest of the year.

While the number of tourists flocking to Spain in March hit 4 million, up from 491,000 in the same month last year, the figure was still 71 percent of the number recorded in March 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The world's second most visited country before the pandemic with 83.5 million visitors in 2019, Spain welcomed just 19 million tourists in 2020.

The figure rose to 31.1 million in 2021, far below the government's forecast of 45 million arrivals.