TOURISM

Spaniards’ new travel trends: more trips abroad, fewer at home

Despite the overall drop in holidaymakers during the third quarter of last year, tourist spending continued to rise from the same period in 2018

A busy beach on the Costa Brava.
A busy beach on the Costa Brava.toni ferragut

Spaniards traveled less in the summer of 2019 than they did the previous year, with a significant drop in domestic tourism that a rise in foreign trips failed to balance out. That’s according to the Familitur survey carried out by Spain’s National Statistics Office (INE), which focused on the third quarter of 2019. Despite this reduced travel, spending rose by 1.9%, with almost €19.3 billion spent overall.

According to the data, Spaniards undertook 61.11 million trips in the third quarter of the year, which includes summer vacations. This is 5.4% down compared to the same period of 2018. According to the findings, the drop is exclusively due to the fall in domestic travel, with 53.84 million trips taken within the country – 6.4% less than in 2018.

Andalusia was the favored domestic destination, accounting for 18% of the total number of trips

Meanwhile, trips abroad increased by 3.2% to 7.27 million. Taking the entire year into account, the same pattern emerges: trips undertaken by Spaniards fell overall by 1.7% due to the 2.6% fall in domestic travel, which the 7% rise in trips abroad failed to make up for.

Although Spaniards traveled less, they spent longer stretches of time in domestic destinations between July and September, with an average of 5.8 nights, 5.9% longer than in the same period in 2018. On the other hand, while there was more foreign travel, the length of stay was 8.7% shorter with an average of 9.3 nights.

Fewer trips to Catalonia

Andalusia was the favored domestic destination, accounting for 18% of the total number of trips: 10.98 million, which is 2% less than 2018. This was followed by the Valencia region with 12.3% of the total: 7.51 million, which is 0.69% more than in 2018. And the third destination was Catalonia, which accounted for 11.7%, indicating that the region has lost more than a million Spanish holidaymakers compared to 2018, when it accounted for 8.27 million trips as opposed to 7.14 million in 2019, a drop of 13.7%. The money spent by domestic tourists in Catalonia fell by 3.6% to €1.5 billion.

Cantabria was the region that accounted for most domestic tourism with respect to the size of its own population, with 2,559 trips made for every 1,000 of its own inhabitants. It was followed by Castilla y León with 2,087 trips, and Asturias with 1,611 for every 1,000 inhabitants. Meanwhile, Madrileños took the most trips with 1,860 for every 1,000 inhabitants, followed by residents of Aragón (1,559) and the Basque Country (1,363).

The money spent by Spaniards on domestic tourism rose more than what they spent abroad, with an increase of 2.1% (for a total of €12.7 billion) on domestic travel and a rise of 1.4% (€6.5 billion) abroad.

Spaniards traveling within Spain spent an average of €237 per trip, the equivalent of €41 per day. Meanwhile, Spaniards traveling abroad spent an average of €97 a day, averaging €898 per trip.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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