2013 record year for tourism in Spain
Record numbers of foreign tourists poured into Spain in 2013 to bake on sunny beaches but a new challenge lies ahead: luring them to holiday spots inland. An unprecedented 60.7 million foreign tourists came to Spain last year, spending an estimated 45.7 billion euros.
Spain received increased numbers of visitors from virtually all around the world, with the exception of Italy, which has been suffering the effects of the ongoing economic crisis.
The number of Britons, Scandinavians and French tourists to Spain all rose during 2013, although it was the Chinese and Russian markets which showed the strongest growth.
Around 35 percent more Chinese people visited Spain in 2013 than the previous year, while 31.6 percent more Russians came to the country.
Both of these are considered to be high quality markets by the tourist sector, given that the per-capital spending of Chinese and Russian tourists is higher than visitors from other countries and regions.
“It was a really good year which gives us a lot of hope after some difficult years,” Spain State President Javier Serrano told reporters.
Indeed, tourism is pivotal to the Spanish economy, which emerged in the third quarter last year from a two-year recession, still dragged down by a 26-percent unemployment rate. “We think tourism should be an engine to help improve the Spanish economy, as it always has been,” Serrano said.
This shows that foreign visitors are waking up to Spain as more than a destination for sun, sea and sand and are showing more interest in sectors such as gastronomy, wine tourism, culture and in visiting historic sites.