|  NEWS

The number of tourist arrivals to Spain hit 9.7 million in the first quarter of this year, 1.2 million more than the same three months last year, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). 

Visitors coming from the UK – Spain’s largest tourism market – stood at 1.8 million, almost 30 times as many as Q1 2021. 

“Month after month, Spain’s tourism industry continues to consolidate itself,” the country’s Tourism Minister María Reyes Maroto said in a statement, going on to say she was “optimistic” for the rest of the year. 

“Spain closes this first quarter with good data on arrivals and tourist spending, a trend that we hope will intensify in the summer period,” the Tourism Minister said. “Excellent employment figures together with the air capacity recovery make us optimistic,” she added. 

Although the number of holidaymakers visiting Spain in March reached 4 million, a rise from 491,000 during March 2021, the figure was still just 71% of the number of tourists recorded in March 2019 before the pandemic hit, reports The Local. 

Spain’s government recently extended non-essential travel restrictions from the majority of third countries until 15th May. As such, British and other non-EU visitors who are not fully vaccinated against Covid or who haven’t recently recovered from the virus, are not yet permitted to holiday in Spain. 

That said, authorities are preparing the “orderly and progressive reopening” of Spain’s borders, which will likely lead to a rise in the number of UK and international visitors in the coming months. 

Spain was the second most visited country before the Covid crisis, registering 83.5 million tourists in 2019, and just 19 million in 2020. The number increased to 31.1 million last year, falling short of the government’s forecast of 45 million. 

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