Madrid, Nov 3 (EFE).- Spain welcomed 4.69 million foreign tourists in September this year, a 311.9% increase compared to the same month in 2020, when most of Europe was subject to severe travel restrictions.
The figures released by Spain’s national statistics office (INE) showed a decrease of 4.15 million international visitors compared to 2019, when the country was the second-most visited in the world after France, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
In September this year international tourists spent an overall 5.4 billion euros ($6.2 billion) in Spain, a six-fold increase compared to 2020 but 4 billion euros less than in the year before the pandemic took hold.
In the first six months of 2021, a period when vaccination rates grew and travel restrictions were gradually dismantled, some 19.7 million foreign tourists visited Spain, a slight uptick from 16.8 million during the same period in 2020 but far shy of the 67 million in 2019.
The majority of international visitors in September 2021 came from Germany, followed by those coming from the United Kingdom, traditionally a pillar of Spain’s tourism sector, and neighboring France.
Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for an estimated 12.4% of the Spanish economy, according to the statistics office. EFE