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Destination Barcelona ends 2023 with 26 M tourists and an economic impact of direct spending of 12,418 M euros

06/02/2024 - 10:00h

The latest tourism activity data in Destination Barcelona have been updated - December 2023 edition

The Barcelona Tourism Observatory: city and region has estimated the number of tourists who visited Destination Barcelona in 2023, meaning the total number of non-residents who stayed overnight in any type of accommodation, including non-tourist accommodation, such as homes of friends and relatives.

According to Observatory calculations, in 2023 the city of Barcelona received 15.6 M tourists which, added to the 10.3 M in Barcelona region, resulted in Destination Barcelona receiving almost 26 M tourists. These figures, together with spending on accommodation and expenditure during the stay (food and drink, entertainment, internal transport, shopping, etc.) have made it possible to estimate the economic impact of direct expenditure of tourism activity at a total of 12,418 M euros in the Destination as a whole. This impact is distributed in 9,676 M euros in Barcelona city and 2,742 M euros in Barcelona region.

Source: Barcelona Tourism Observatory: city and region

These calculations complement the usual analysis of the main monthly indicators which can be consulted in the monitoring of tourism activity. Below is a brief summary of the highlights for the month of December:

Barcelona city

  • Hotels and guesthouses supply accounted for 635 establishments and almost 84,000 available beds, slightly below the previous month (-1.,2%).
  • Tourists in hotels, guesthouses and homes for tourist use decreased month-on-month, due to the natural seasonality of tourism activity. However, although the number of tourists was lower than in December 2019 (-5,6% Var. Dec23/Dec19), an increase in the average stay (+0.2 nights Var. Dec23/Dec19), caused the overnight stays to grow by +1,7% (Var. Dec23/Dec19). Homes for tourist use have recorded the highest length of stay (4.4 nights), while hotels and guesthouses, 2.5 nights. On the other hand, the bed occupancy rate stood near 55.0% in both in homes for tourist use and hotel establishments.
  • At Barcelona Airport, which for the second month in a row time registered more monthly passengers than before the pandemic (+5,6% Var. Dec23/Dec19), more people than in the previous month were trasferred (+1.1%), meaning almost 3.9 million travellers.
  • The recovery of ICUB's cultural facilities was consolidated: once again, visitors to these facilities exceeded the number of visitors recorded in the same period before the pandemic (+12.3% Var. Dec23/Dec19). The proportion of international visitors to these sites increased by almost +5pp, up to almost 3 out of 4 visitors.
  • By contrast, domestic tourists increased their share in the city's hotel establishments by +3.1pp, so that a quarter of the tourists who stayed overnight in this type of accommodation resided in Spain. The leading international market in this type of accommodation was once again the United States, which, with an 8.7% share in December, broke all-time records in 2023, with a total of 1.04 million tourists residing in the USA.
  • The typical tourist in Barcelona city in December1  was a 35.9-years-old person, travelling for leisure (82.8%) and as a couple (42.6%). The average expenditure during their stay in the city was €70.8 per person per day (-15.1% month-on-month). This expenditure was mainly spent on food and drink (46.0%), culture and entertainment (20.6%) and purchases of clothing, footwear and others (20.0%).
  • Spending with bank cards in tourist establishments in Barcelona city remained higher than in previous years, but international spending, which had accounted for a quarter of spending with bank cards in the city since April, fell to 16.2% of the total
  • Unemployment in the tourism activity remained below pre-pandemic levels (-21.2% Var. Dec23/Dec19) and, of the new hiring, temporary contracts slightly exceeded permanent ones (50.8% vs. 49.2%).

Barcelona region

  • Hotels, guesthouses, rural tourism establishments and campsites accounted for 907 establishments and some 48,000 available beds in December, which means a reduction of approximately 3,000 bedplaces compared to the previous month. However, the number of places in these types of establishments was very similar to the same period in 2019. 
  • Despite the month-on-month reduction in demand due to the seasonality of the activity, the number of tourists in these accommodation typologies has increased compared to December 2019 (+10.3% Var. Dec23/Dec19), and the average stay, which stood at 2.0 nights, was back on par with the same month of 2019, so that overnight stays experienced a similar growth (+9.3% Var. Dec23/Dec19). By type of establishment, campsites were those that gained the most overnight stays in relative terms (+57.6% Var. Dec23/Dec19) and recorded a higher average stay (3.9 nights), while hotel establishments grew by +4.5% (Var. Dec23/Dec19) and had an average stay of 1.8 nights. Finally, rural tourism establishments, with a stay of 2.6 nights, again decreased in the number of overnight stays (-5.5% Var. Dec23/Dec19). 
  • Just over half of the tourists in hotel establishments in the Barcelona region were domestic tourists, slighty below than the previous month (-1.1pp).
  • The typical tourist in Barcelona region in December1 was a person aged 44.4 years, travelling for leisure (54.0%) and travelling as a couple (34.2%). The average expenditure during the stay in the region increased by almost €20 compared to the previous month, to €57.1 per person per day, which was mainly spent on food and drink (50.5%) and shopping for clothes, footwear and other purchases (31.5%).
  • Unemployment in tourism remained below pre-pandemic levels (-22.5% Var. Dec23/Dec19) and, of the new contracts, permanent ones were once again higher than temporary ones (52.3% vs. 47.7%).


For more information on the profile and habits of tourists during this summer in Destination Barcelona, please click on the following link


Consult the interactive report:


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