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Spain delivers tourism record in 2017 a month early

Author:   |  January 4th, 2018

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Spain's strengths include its diversity, its accessibility, its amenities and - of course - its superb weather.

Spain’s strengths include its diversity, its accessibility, its amenities and – of course – its superb weather.

Record numbers of foreign tourists visited Spain in 2017 – and we know this already because 2016’s record-breaking figures were smashed before last year’s December had even begun, official data has revealed…

Frontur, which is the tourism department of Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), found that 77.8 million people visited Spain between January 1 and November 30 last year – a figure that surpasses the 75.6 million registered for the entire 12 months of 2016.

That 75.6 million figure was already a record for Spain, and helped to place the country top of the global tourism charts. Last year’s 11-month performance is a stunning testament to Spain’s growing prominence as a destination for all types of holidaymaker and, once December’s figures are taken into account, will likely see the country celebrate surpassing the 80 million mark.

All the more impressive is the fact that Catalonia’s tourism figures actually contracted from October onwards following the political unrest caused by the independence movement. Frontur data shows a 15% annual fall in visitor numbers in the region for October, and a 2.3% fall in November. Buoyed by Barcelona, Catalonia is always one of Spain’s most visited regions, and accounted for one in four foreign visits in 2016.

The Canary Islands, the Balearics and the Costa del Sol are Spain’s next most popular regions, and all three saw an increase in visitor numbers last year compared to 2016.

By nationality, Frontur estimates that Brits accounted for 18 million visitors last year, which is a 7% increase in the space of 12 months.

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