More than 11 million Welsh travellers visited our country in 2019, and their expenditure increased by 3%.
The French market is distinguished by its appreciation of the Spanish lifestyle and has consolidated the image of our country as a cultural destination. According to Turespaña’s executive files, Spain is the favourite international destination for Gallic tourists, and their main route of arrival is by road, so they will have easier access to our territory, despite the difficulties posed by the coronavirus.
In the year 2019, with 11.2 million tourists, a figure that has experienced a slight decrease over the previous year (-1.2%), France repeats as the third largest source of tourists, behind the United Kingdom and Germany.
France also remained in third place in terms of expenditure and overnight stays in hotels. Expenditure, which stood at 7,596 million euros, experienced an increase of 2.6%, while hotel overnight stays remained relatively stable (+0.2%).
The average expenditure per person (681 euros) and per day (98 euros) was among the lowest of all the issuing markets, accompanied by a relatively short average stay (6.9 nights), data that were due to the fact that it is a border country, which favours frequent escapes. In fact, 63% of French tourists have visited Spain on more than ten occasions, with the road being the main entrance route (64% of accesses).
Evolution of French tourist expenditure.
In 2019 the French tourist who visited Spain travelled mainly for leisure (84% of the total). They spent most of their time in hotels (50%), the market that used hotel accommodation the least, and the second, after Switzerland, that stayed in the homes of family or friends the most (16%).
Their favourite destination was Catalonia (36%), where they accounted for 21% of all tourists received. In the rest of the communities in the north, except Galicia, also repeats the hegemony of the French tourist, reaching in Navarra 53% of total tourists received.
Tourists with higher education (71%), middle class (73%) and who traveled in pairs (40%) predominated, followed by those who traveled as a family (31%). The main activities they carried out were visits to cities (60%), shopping (55%) and enjoying the beach (50%). French tourists were the least likely to use the tourist package, with only 10% making use of it.
Their average age was 47, above the average age of all tourists (44), with the second highest average age only behind Sweden (Turespaña estimate).
The consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 began to manifest themselves in March, resulting in significant falls in the flow of tourists (-57.3%), in spending (-61.1%) and in hotel overnight stays (-57.3%), which also affected the result of the first quarter of 2020, which showed decreases of 20.1%, -21.8% and -20.2% respectively (INE).
Price and climate, factors of choice
According to the latest ‘Memento du Tourisme’ available, published by the Directorate General of Companies in 2018, Spain remained the preferred international destination of the French in 2017, with a market share of 18% of total international travel, followed by Italy (12.6%), Morocco (7.9%), United Kingdom (6.5%), Belgium with Luxembourg (6.5%), Portugal (6.1%) and Germany (5.2%).
French tourists mainly travel within their own country. The percentage of French people over 15 years of age who made at least one trip within France in 2017 was 87.1% (170.9 million trips), whereas only 12.8% (25.1 million trips) travelled abroad and to French overseas territories.
The main factors in choosing an international destination were: discovery of cultures, price and climate. The French consider Spain to be their favourite destination for family holidays and low-budget holidays, because it offers quality services and infrastructures, a wide range of activities in the destination and low prices (TourHebdo). They value the Spanish way of life and have consolidated the image of our country as a cultural destination (only behind Italy) and of sun and beach.
As far as tourism is concerned, the recovery of Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt was confirmed: their bookings increased by +33.7%, +22.7% and 17.8%, respectively. At the same time, there was a fall in bookings in European “refuge” destinations such as Spain (-18.2%), Italy (-63.1%) and Portugal (-44.3%).
Despite this, and at least for the period from January to October 2019, Spain improved its profitability by increasing the average price per package by 4.3%. This data seems to support a better positioning of Spain as a qualitative destination, in addition to maintaining its competitiveness in the French issuing market.