Spain to tackle decrease in UK visitor durations

Spain has vowed to tackle a slight fall in the average trip duration among UK visitors, with a focus on sustainability a key part of the country’s strategy.

The Spanish Tourist Office has reported that UK visitors’ average stay in 2023 was 6.91 days, down from 7.29 days in 2019 (decrease of 5%).

The change contrasts with the overall trend, with the average stay among all visitors growing from 7.11 days in 2019 to 7.30 days in 2023 (increase of 2.5%).


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Manuel Butler (pictured), director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, said there was a need to “work harder” on the UK’s length of stay.

He welcomed a recovery in UK visitor numbers in 2023 to pre-pandemic levels, with 17.3 million recorded last year (down 3.8% compared with 2019), as well as an increase in UK tourists’ daily spend from €136 in 2019 to €166 last year.

Spain’s strategy is to build a reputation for excellence and sustainability, with the trade playing a key role.

“We’ve developed stronger collaborations with travel agents,” Butler said, adding that a core target group is travellers aged 55-plus with a higher income.

Pedro Medina, the deputy director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, said attempts are being made to encourage all-year travel.

As part of this, the tourist office is promoting less-visited destinations and more environmentally-friendly forms of transport.

“We’re trying to encourage more responsible and sustainable tourism as a priority,” said Medina.

Maria Hernandez, head of department at the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, said Spain’s railway network was among its strengths.

“We have the second-largest high-speed rail network in the world after China,” she said, adding: “You can really discover Spain in a more sustainable way.”

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