According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), despite this increase, the numbers are still below those observed in 2019, when a record 27 million tourists was recorded. In terms of revenue, the sector achieved 2.3 billion euros, 61% more than in 2020.

“The year 2021 was also marked by the effects of the constraints arising from the pandemic, especially the lockdown measures in the first half of the year and at the end of the year, with negative effects on the tourism sector which, despite having grown compared to 2020, was still below the levels of 2019″, says the INE.

Of the 16 million guests estimated for 2021, 9.6 million (60%) were international tourists. This number represents an increase of 48.4% compared to 2020, but 39% below 2019 (24.6 million foreigners). Here, Spain remained the main outbound market (30.2% share), having registered an increase of 57.3%. Then comes the French market (16.1%), British (10.6%) and German (8%).

During the whole of last year, there were 42.6 million overnight stays, an increase of 40.7% compared to 2020, but a decrease of 45.2% compared to 2019, says the INE. The domestic market provided 22.5 million overnight stays (52.8% of the total), while overnight stays from foreigners totalled 20.1 million. There were increases in the number of overnight stays in the different regions, most notably in the Azores (+125.7%) and Madeira (+80%).