by Staff Reporter

VISITORS to Spain spent a total of 15'969 million euros in the first five months of the year, according to a report released yesterday, which also said that the British were the biggest spenders.

The Institute for Tourist Studies said that the figures confirmed a rise in spending of 1.1 percent over and above income registered during the same period last year. The rise is commensurate with a 1.2 percent growth in the number of foreign tourists coming to the country - as many as 19.7 million people in the first five months of this year, and on an upturn of 2.6 percent in the average spend of each person during each day of their stay, reaching 92 euros.

Looking at the statistics from another angle however, the average spend for the whole of each tourist visit - not split up into individual days - stood at 809 euros during this period, reflecting a fall of 0.1 percent compared to the same period in 2006. The fall is due, says the report, to the reduction in the average length of stay which has fallen to nine nights. With the accessibility of individually tailored holidays, there is less reliance upon a statutory fortnight's stay at a chosen destination. Looking solely at the month of May this year, all the values in the analysis were negative figures with the exception of the average daily spend which registered a growth of 2.2 percent to 89 euros in comparison to the same month last year.

As a result, the total spend fell back by 2.3 percent to 3'999 million euros, dragged down by a 1.9 percent reduction in the number of tourists (5.3 million), a 0.7 percent fall in the average spend of each individual (753 euros), and a 2.9 percent reduction in the average length of stay (8 nights.)
The report says that European tourists were responsible for 85.8 percent of the total spend in May, with the British and Germans making up 43.8 percent of this figure. The spend was achieved in spite of the fact that the British, which are Spain's highest spending key clients, reduced their presence in the usual favourite holiday destinations of the Balearics and Canary Islands, and Andalucia. Germany, Spain's second highest spending clients, also came in less numbers during the first five months of this year. The Germans chose the Balearics and the Canary Islands as their most sought-after holiday spots in the country. France, in contrast increased its presence in the Balearics and Canary Islands in comparison to the same period in 2006.