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Tourism in Spain: Americans Return After Pandemic Restrictions

During the busy tourist season, the US travel market is increasing positively, while Spain is still below its pre-pandemic levels. In June of this year, 1.8 million American tourists visited Spain, a significant increase of 17.4% from last year when COVID-19 restrictions were still in place.These findings are from data analysis courtesy of the National Statistics Institute (INE).

While the United States doesn’t claim the top spot as the leading source of visitors to Spain—currently resting in the sixth position behind countries like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany—June alone saw an influx of 546,093 American citizens. This impressive number is the highest recorded figure since 2015 when the INE initiated its tracking of this essential metric. 

The favoured regions for US travellers are Catalonia, capturing the preference of 41%, and Madrid, drawing 27% of tourists to its cultural attractions.

It’s important to mention that Spain isn’t the top pick for American visitors when it comes to European Union nations. The preferred choices for Americans seeking European adventures are the UK, France, and Italy. However, Spain’s tourism industry greatly benefits from the large US market and its potential for growth. In 2022, the number of US tourists visiting Spain increased by 249.5%, resulting in a 250.8% increase in spending and a 239.6% increase in overnight stays.

The entirety of 2022 saw a gradual yet steadfast revival in American expenditure within Spain, ultimately surpassing 2019 figures. The average per-person spending during a trip tallied up to €1,874, with daily expenses averaging at €266.

Moreover, the ratio of American tourists among the total European visitor numbers continues its upward trajectory. From January to March, 2,947,720 American explorers touched on European soil, granting the continent a 14.5% slice of their overseas travel pie. The outset of 2022 was marred by low visitor figures, primarily due to the constraints inflicted by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. These constraints encompassed mandatory negative COVID-19 tests for travel, obligatory vaccination certificates, and even self-imposed quarantines for those willing. Spain upheld stringent border controls and insisted on negative COVID-19 tests for travellers from regions beyond the European Union until October 2022.

The Preferred Holiday Spots

For 54.5% of Americans, travel is among their foremost budget priorities. Among the subset that chooses Spain as their holiday haven, 86% cite leisure as their prime motivation. 

Activities embraced by these travellers primarily included urban explorations (65%), immersive cultural outings (62%), and indulgent shopping excursions (55%), as meticulously outlined by Turespaña, the authoritative agency charged with promoting Spain to the world. 

Regarding lodging, a solid 80% nestled within the comforting confines of hotels, while a modest 10% opted for apartment rentals. Intriguingly, a mere 16% of American visitors sought tour packages, instead preferring to craft their itineraries—a testament to their independent spirit.

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