US journalists on a fam trip to Menorca. | R.P.A.

According to Spain's tourism agency Turespaña, there were 204,487 US tourists in the Balearics over the first eight months of 2023. An increase of over 20% compared with 2022, this number makes the US the eighth largest foreign tourism market behind Germany, the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.

While the growth in numbers of tourists is significant, just as important is the level of spending. To the end of August, US tourist spend in the Balearics was 517 million euros.

The two largest foreign markets were, as ever, Germany and the UK with 3.2 million and 2.7 million tourists respectively. German tourist spend was 3,633 million euros; the UK was 3,121 million. The average spend per German tourist was 1,135 euros; UK was 1,155. American was 2,528.

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With average American spend outstripping both the main markets by more than twice, specific credit card data for retail sales indicate that American tourists spend more in total in the Balearics than any other market except Germany and the UK.

These data reveal special American interest in artisan jewellery, glassware, footwear and clothing, especially that with a local mark, such as the Mallorcan roba de llengües. High-end wines also stand out.

At Turespaña's annual convention in San Sebastian last week, attention was paid to the growth of the US market, which is the largest non-European tourism market in Spain. Turespaña's report for autumn and winter trends points to a further increase in US tourism in the first months of 2024 and to an anticipation that the US market will break its spending record next year.

For Mallorca and the Balearics, this is a market which at present is largely confined to summer months. There are US visitors all year who take connecting flights, but the Balearic government - as recently reported - would like there to be direct flights from the USA twelve months a year.