Spain is the most visited country by foreigners in the European Union, according to Eurostat, that only takes into account tourists that stay in tourist accommodation establishments.
Where are the tourists? The arrival of foreign visitors is one of the main drivers of the European economy and key to the fashion business, which relies on the so-called shopping tourism to encourage its anaemic sales on the continent. But who are these visitors? Where are they and where do they come from?
According to the latest comparative data available at the European statistical agency Eurostat, corresponding to 2017, Spain is the country that received the most foreign visitors in 2017, followed by Italy, France and Germany.
Overall, the European Union received 1,048 million tourists in 2017, taking into account also domestic tourism, which represents about 86% of overnight stays. European visitors spend, on average, 73 euros per night on the continent and sleep an average of 4.6 nights in the country.
After locals, most tourist in the Union come from American, that represent 2.5% of the total, and from Asian countries, except China, Japan and South Korea, which account for 2.3% of arrivals. Switzerland takes the bronze, representing 1.4% of tourists in the Union, with an average of 107 euros of spending per night and 6.5 overnight stays per trip.
In Spain, 35.1% of visitors are residents of the country, with an average cost of 49 euros. It is followed by the British, who account for 17.7% of arrivals; the Germans, with 13.2%, and the French, representing 5.4%.
Spaniards, on the other hand, bet more on local tourism: 82.2% of overnight stays made Spanish tourists are inside Spain, with an average expenditure of 49 euros per night. The country is followed by destinations like France, Morocco and Portugal, with shares of 2.1%, 1.7% and 1.5%, respectively.
The UK gets more non-EU tourists than any other big market of the European Union
In Italy, the ranking is similar but the expense is higher. After the Italians themselves, the majority of overnight stays are made by Germans (14.1%, with one hundred euros per night), French (3.2% and 123 euros per night) and British (3.2%, and 102 euros per night). The Italians, in turn, travel mainly to Spain, where they spend 120 euros per night; Croatia, with ninety euros per night, and the United Kingdom, with an outlay of ninety euros per overnight stay.
In France, on the other hand, the map of tourists changes. The country receives mainly British, Dutch and Germans, all of them with a quota of around 4% and expenses that do not exceed eighty euros. However, foreigners usually spend more time in France than in other European markets, with an average of ten nights.
Spain is the top destination for Italian, German and British tourists
Spain is also the first destination for French people who travel outside their country: 3.5% choose the Spanish market as a holiday destination, where they spend an average of 7.5 nights with an expenditure of 98 euros per night. Spain’s followed by Italy and Portugal, with expenses of 123 euros and 103 euros per night, respectively.
The United Kingdom is the only large market in the Union that receives more non-EU tourists than European tourists. Specifically, 6.9% come from Asian countries (except China, Japan and South Korea) and 5.4% from the United States. Another 4.6% comes from France, with an average expenditure of 131 euros per night. Spain is also the country preferred by the British, accounting for 11.5% of overnight stays. Followed by France and the United States. In addition, only 36.2% of UK residents choose to stay in their country.
Germany also has a greater diversity among foreign tourists visiting the country: after neighbouring Holland, Swiss and Americans are the ones who visit the German market the most. Germans, in turn, travel mostly outside their country (only 40.9% of their overnight stays take place in Germany), with Spain, Italy and Austria as the main destinations.