Between January and November this year, more than 61.7 million international tourists visited Spain. That figure is higher than the total for all of 2013, 60.65 million, which is to say that with a month of it still to go, 2014 has already been a record year for tourist visits to the country.
In terms of volume of arrivals, the Spanish tourist sector appears to be unstoppable, with 23 months of uninterrupted rises. The improved figures are thanks to increases in the number of visits by nearly all nationalities who regularly visit Spain, apart from those from Russia, which have experienced a sharp fall due to the weakness of the ruble.
Spain is likely to finish the year with a total 65 million international tourist visitors, according to figures from the Spanish Institute of Tourism Studies.
The only segment to fall was Russian visitors, with a 9.7% reduction between January and November
The country broke the 60-million barrier for the first time last year – a figure that looked like it would be difficult to beat, given that it was partly due to the weakness of other tourist markets, such as Egypt, which was the victim of political instability during the year.
But now that record has already been broken, and with a month to spare. December 2013 saw three million tourist visitors; if that figure is repeated, this year’s final total will be 64.7 million.
The United Kingdom continues to be the main source of tourist visits to Spain, accounting for a quarter of the total. Between January and November, 14.3 million Britons came to visit, a rise of nearly 5% on the same period last year.
French, Italian and Belgian visitors saw the greatest rise, of more than 10% each.
Only Russia saw falls, with a 9.7% reduction in visitors between January and November.
In terms of regions visited, the figures reveal that Spain is no longer just a destination for those seeking sun and sand. The Madrid region, for example, saw an 8.3% rise in foreign visitors between January and November. Meanwhile, seven of every 10 rural vacation homes are already fully booked for New Year’s Eve, according to booking website Escapada Rural, which accounts for 80% of the market.