Tourist expense during the stay grows 8.7% year-on-year, exceeding €90 per day, in Barcelona city in 2023

21/03/2024 - 10:30h

The OTB publishes the second capsule of the Tourism Activity Report 2023, which includes data on the profile, origin and spending of tourists in Destination Barcelona.

  • The results of the tourist profile and expense indicators in Destination Barcelona show that in 2023 the substantial changes recorded during the pandemic were definitely left behind.
  • The share of international tourists increased year-on-year in the Destination as a whole. In Barcelona city, the most frequent international tourists were those from the United States, and in Barcelona region, those from France.
  • The majority visited the destination as a couple (44.1%) or with their families (27.1%) and for holiday-leisure purposes (66.6%).
  • Plane was once again the most popular means of transport to reach Destination Barcelona (82.4%), even above pre-pandemic levels.
  • The average of times that tourists had been before at the destination municipality slightly increased compared to the previous year: in Barcelona city, tourists had previously been 4.9 times, while in Barcelona region, 13.5.
  • During their stay, tourists mainly travelled on foot (48.8%) and the most popular activity was tasting gastronomy or going to restaurants (89.3%).
  • The average tourist expense increased year-on-year in all the items analysed and, in Barcelona city, spending during the stay exceeded €90 per person per night for the first time.


The Observatory of Tourism in Barcelona: city and region has released the second capsule of the 2023 Barcelona Tourism Activity Report, which contains four chapters with data on the tourists' sociodemographic profile, their origin, their travel characteristics, and their expense.

The figures presented in this document show, once again, that the substantial changes in tourist profile and expenditure recorded in 2020, 2021 and part of 2022, were definitely left behind in 2023.

As usual, the report provides data about the three usual geographical levels that the OTB covers: Barcelona city, Barcelona region, and Destination Barcelona.


Tourist sociodemograhic profile

In 2023, almost 2 out of every 3 tourists in Destination Barcelona were men and the average age was 38.3 years, increasing for the second consecutive year (+0.7 year-on-year). The majority of tourists in Destination Barcelona had a university education (66.8%) and were employed (65.0%).


Tourist origin

Domestic tourists continued to top the ranking of tourists’ origin, with a 27.6% market share in Destination Barcelona. Although in both Barcelona city and Barcelona region the market share of domestic tourism decreased slightly, it should be noted that once again, in the region, its weight was greater than in the city (42.3% vs. 19.3%).

Overall, international tourism grew more than domestic tourism (+18.1% vs. +7.4% Var. 23/22), especially intercontinental tourists, particularly those from America (+25.0%, not including tourists from the United States) and Japan (+168.4% Var. 23/22).

In the ranking of international tourists, tourists from the United States regained their leadership for the first time after the pandemic in the Destination as a whole (9.8% share), experiencing a year-on-year growth of +31.7%. They were followed by residents of France, which, despite a decrease in the number of tourists (-4.3% Var. 23/22), obtained a 7.8% share. The United Kingdom (+19.3% Var. 23/22) and Germany (+12.5% Var. 23/22) completed the top 5 markets of origin of tourists with shares of 6.8% and 5.1%, respectively.


Travel characteristics

66.6% visited Destination Barcelona for holidays or leisure reasons, 17.8% for professional reasons and 13.6% for personal and other reasons. This last reason grew again year-on-year (+2.0pp), to the detriment of holiday and professional reasons.

The plane was once again the most common means of transport used to reach Barcelona city (82.4%), even above pre-pandemic levels, while in Barcelona region, the car or motorbike was once again the most common means of transport used to reach the destination municipality (42.3%). In both geographical areas, the train remained in second place, with 9.6% of use in Destination Barcelona as a whole.

The number of times tourists had previously visited the destination municipality increased slightly compared to the previous year: in Barcelona city in 2023 the average number of previous visits stood at 4.9 times, while in Barcelona region it was 13.5. However, the percentage of tourists who visited the municipality of stay for the first time again exceeded the 50%, something had not happened since 2019.

Travelling as a couple continued to be the most frequent group of travel (44.1%), followed by travelling as a family (27.1%) and travelling alone (26.6%).

During their stay, 7 out of 10 tourists travelled by non-polluting means of transport: The percentage of those who travelled most frequently on foot (48.8%) was once again the highest in the Destination as a whole. In second place in Barcelona city we find the metro (31.8% of journeys) and in Barcelona region, the car (17.4%), despite a reduction in its use compared to the previous year (-3.1pp).

The most popular activities in the destination were tasting gastronomy / going to restaurants (89.3%), cultural visits (59.9%) and going to the beach (58.5%).

On the other hand, 22.0% of tourists went on excursions from the municipality where they were staying. This proportion remained higher in Barcelona region (4 out of 10) than in Barcelona city (1 out of 10). The average number of excursions among those who took at least one remained stable at 1.6.


Tourism expenditure

In 2023, all the average expenditure categories analysed again increased compared to the previous year in Destination Barcelona as a whole. In the city of Barcelona, for example, the cost of inbound transport increased by +5.7% and that of accommodation per person per day rose by +22.9%.

For the first time since the pandemic, the cost of package holidays, for people who travelled with two or more combined services, exceeded the 1,000 euro threshold in Barcelona Destination as a whole (+26.2% Var. 23/22).

Finally, the expenditure per person per night during the stay also increased in Destination Barcelona (+6.9% Var. 23/22). In Barcelona city (+8.7% Var. 23/22), the expense reached more than 90€, which means an all-time high.

In Destination Barcelona, the purchase of food and drink continued to be the item on which most money was spent during the stay (50.1% of the total). Spending on entertainment, leisure and culture (17.1%) was again the second most important item, followed by spending on clothes, footwear, souvenirs, personal effects and other (16.4%).


More information:


Related news