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Spain has jumped ahead of the United States of America to become the world’s second most visited country, although France still leads the way.
Despite political unrest and terror attacks, Spain continues to attract a huge number of travellers, and has broken tourism records for five straight years.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that 82 million travellers visited Spain last year, a 9% increase on the number recorded in 2016.
Despite protests for political independence in Catalonia and terror attacks in the region, Spain’s tourism earnings also saw a 12% increase, taking the total to just over £77 million.
British tourists continue to be Spain’s biggest market source, accounting for 18 million tourists in 2017, which is 7% higher than the year previously.
In 2016, Spain welcomed 75.3 million visitors, marginally below the 75.6 million people who visited the USA.
Even despite its own political unrest, France continues to be a huge draw for travellers, with 82.6 million visiting in 2016 alone, according to the figures from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
In December last year, the French foreign ministry expected the number of visitors for 2017 to reach upwards of 89 million.
The tourism industry in Spain has also benefitted from a dramatic increase in bookings in flat rentals during the summer periods, especially thanks to web platforms such as Airbnb.
Exceltur – the Spanish tourism association – expects the nation’s tourism sector to continue to grow over the next few years, and hopes that local business will continue to benefit.
“Spanish tourist businesses can expect a 5.6% growth in their income and 5.3% growth in their profits in 2018,” said Exceltur vice-president Jose Luis Zoreda.
If you’re planning on booking a holiday this year, make sure you organise your short-haul travel insurance in advance
Date Created: 15/01/2018