So far, 52.4 million foreign holidaymakers have visited Spain in 2014, and the government predicts the year will close with a figure of 62 million, the highest in history.
Statistics are only available until the end of September, which means around 3.3 million a month are expected to have arrived this month, and again in November and December.
With an increase of 7.4% on last year, this includes an overwhelming seven million in September alone – 8.1% more than last year partly due to an Indian summer which has seen temperatures of above 30ºC in the last two months in the south, east and the islands.
Despite predictions two years ago that the face of foreign tourism and holiday-home buying in Spain would be Russian, the number of visitors from the eastern country have plummeted this year by 7.6% across the board – 1.13 million fewer and 19.5% in September alone, with 193,600 fewer than in the same month in 2013.
But the more ‘traditional’ markets Spain has been popular with for decades continue to be faithful to the country and to grow in number.
Over the first nine months of the year as a whole, the largest national group was the British with 12.3 million holidaymakers travelling to Spain, an increase of 5.6% on last year, although Belgium wins on increased percentage at 15.9%.
German tourists rose in number by 6.9%, with 8.3 million visiting Spain between January and the end of September, a country that has become even more popular with its neighbour, France, from which 8.6 million holidaymakers crossed the Pyrénées, or an increase of 11.5%.
For the month of September alone, top of the list were the Brits, with 1.7 million visiting Spain, a rise of 5.5% on last September, followed by a 3% rise seen by Germany with 1.2 million visitors, and just under a million French tourists, having gone up by 20.2% since September 2013.
Portuguese holidaymakers represented the highest percentage increase with 29.5% visiting their next-door neighbour in September this year compared to the same month last year.
Most foreign visitors still tend to travel to Spain for the summer weather, with 31 million heading over between July and September inclusive and the remaining six months seeing an aggregate 21.4 million effectively, three times as many tourists travel to Spain in summer than at any other time of the year.
Catalunya saw the highest numbers of tourists, with just under 13.5 million in nine months, or 1.8 million in September, although the year-on-year increase in percentage terms was higher in the Canary Islands (11.4% more, being a total of 8.36 million) and Madrid (15.3%, or 433,100 visitors).
After Catalunya, the most popular regions – based upon average figures for the first nine months of 2014 – were the Balearics with 10.17 million, the Canaries as above, Andalucía with 6.93 million, the Comunidad Valenciana with five million and the Greater Madrid region with 3.43 million.
For the unseasonally warm month of September this year, most holidaymakers – after Catalunya, which comes out on top went to the Balearic Islands (1.6 million), Andalucía (959,000), the Canaries (846,000), Valencia (655,000) and Madrid (433,100).
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