People, Travel

Spain Hits Tourism Record

Spain Hits Tourism RecordSpain Hits Tourism Record

Authorities say Spain received a record 38 million tourists in the first seven months of the year, as a weak euro and security issues in other beach resort nations like Tunisia make it a more attractive destination.

The state tourism office said on Friday the January-July figure was 4.7 percent up on the record set in the same period in 2014. British tourist arrivals, at nearly nine million, topped the list for the period, Skift reported.

The tourism office said July saw a record number of 8.8 million visitors, up 6.3 percent on July 2014.

Tourists arriving from Britain increased by 3.5 percent to 8.7 million in the first seven months of the year, accounting for 23 percent of the total.

They were followed by the French, whose arrivals reached 6.1 million, increasing by 7.8 percent on a year-on-year basis.

The number of German visitors reached 5.8 million until July which meant a 1.3-percent rise when compared with a year earlier. They were followed by visitors from Nordic countries and Italy whose arrivals reached 2.9 million and 2.1 million respectively.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says the country expects a record 68 million tourists for all of 2015, three million more than the record set in 2014.

The northeastern region of Catalonia was the most popular destination with 9.77 million international tourists in this period.

The news comes on the heels of reports that Barcelona residents are so incensed by the unbearable tourism boom that a recent city government poll of some 800 people found that they consider tourism a worse problem than poverty. Only unemployment and traffic ranked higher on their list of grievances.

Overcrowding of local spots and rise in apartment prices were the main complaints against the rise in international tourists in Barcelona.

After Catalonia, the archipelagos of the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands, which hosted 6.59 million and 6.52 million tourists respectively, were the most visited places.

Spain is the second top destination in terms of tourism spending and the third in terms of international visitors after France and the United States.

Tourism represents about 11 percent of Spain’s GDP.