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Spain made €60 billion from tourism last year, data shows

Author:   |  August 4th, 2017

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The InterNations survey ranked Spain as the fourth best place in the world for expat quality of life.

Second for revenue, third for numbers, first for growth – Spain’s tourism sector has really hit its stride.

The tourism industry injected €60 billion into the Spanish economy in 2016 – more than any other country on the planet bar the USA, data from the UN’s World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) has shown…

But while America is actually seeing its tourism sector contract in the wake of the appointment of President Donald Trump, Spain’s is actually growing – and at a faster rate than all other leading destinations.

The UNTWO figures show that the US economy received €173 billion from tourism last year, which puts it way out in front. Spain came second, with Thailand and China placed third and fourth in terms of tourism revenue.

The UK, which secured third place in 2015, dropped to seventh – the €29 billion euros that tourism brought into the country was lower in 2016 than it had been for some years, with the impact of Brexit thought to be to blame.

Rather interestingly, France attracted only the fifth amount of tourism spending worldwide in 2016, despite UNTWO data placing the country first in terms of overall visitor numbers. This suggests that many people who visit France do so fleetingly, either because they are just ‘passing through’ to Spain or other neighbouring countries, or stay for just a few days as part of a wider tour or cruise.

In terms of hard numbers, France’s 82.6 million visitors in 2016 placed it top of the UNTWO pile once again, with the USA in second place with 75.61 million tourists, and Spain in third place with 75.56 million tourists.

However, the speed and direction of change is worth noting. Tourism in America waned 3% between 2015 and 2016, and has fallen even further so far in 2017. For France, the contraction between 2015 and 2016 was 2%, with a further decline expected this year following the recent terrorist attacks.

Spain, meanwhile, experienced a 10% increase in visitor numbers in 2016, and all signs point to this year being even stronger – which could result in Spain claiming top spot overall by year’s end.

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