Spain sees slight fall in number of foreign tourists in May

There was a slight fall in the number of foreign tourists visiting Spain during May, according to figures published by the Spanish Statistical Office (INE) on Tuesday.

The “Tourist Movement on Borders” (Frontur) study shows that 7.95 million tourists visited Spain in May; 1.6 percent down on the total for May 2018.

It is the first time in eight months that Spain has seen a reduction in the tourist numbers on a year-on-year basis, with one possible explanation being that the late Easter holidays in April saw less people travel abroad in May.

Nevertheless, the Frontur study also shows that despite the slowdown in May, overall numbers continue to rise with Spain welcoming 29.3 million foreign tourists in the first five months of 2019, 2.7 percent more than in the same period last year.

Tourists from the United Kingdom made up 24.9 percent of all visitors to Spain in May, although that was a 0.3 percent fall from the previous year. Meanwhile there was an 8.8 percent fall in the number of German and a 10.7 reduction in French tourists visiting the country.

These falls were compensated by a 34.8 percent increase in the number of Russian visitors (122,777), an 18 percent rise in the number of Italian tourists (405,041) and a 7.2 percent hike in the number of U.S. visitors (341,122).

The main destination for tourists was the Catalan region in the northeast of Spain, followed by the Canary Islands and the southern region of Andalusia.

While the number of visitors fell slightly in May, tourist spending continues to rise, with tourists spending 30,684 million euros in the first five months of 2019, which is 3.8 percent up on 2018.

May saw tourists spend an average 1,030 euros (1,063 U.S. dollars) during their stay, an average daily spend of 163 euros. (1 euro=1.13 U.S. dollars)