Tourism is one of the few sectors that have become a source of optimism for the Spanish economy. The number of foreign visitors to Spain increased throughout the whole of 2012, with fourth quarter figures the highest, while the average spending by these visitors has also risen.
But there is one group of foreign visitors to Spain that has broken all the tourism records: Russians.
Between January and November last year, the number of Russian visitors increased by 42 percent in comparison to that same period in 2011. For the first time, over one million Russians visited here last year. What Russians spent in Spain also surpassed the cash forked out by other foreign tourists.
Nevertheless, for every Russian tourist, there are 13 who come from Great Britain.
From January to November, 1.17 million Russians came to Spain, according to data from the Industry, Energy and Tourism Ministry. In 2010, some 605,276 people from the former Soviet Union arrived in Spain.
Britain continues to lead the Spanish tourism sector, with 13 million visitors last year, followed by Germany, with nine million; France, with 8.5 million; and 3.4 million coming from Italy.
Yet compared with visitors from other countries, Russians spend more. According to Egatur, the average Russian spent 988 euros compared to the average Briton, who spent 807 euros.
And Russians are not just visiting – they are also snatching up properties on Spain‘s Mediterranean coast.