66.2 mln tourists visit Spain in first 9 months of 2018

A total of 66.2 million foreign tourists visited Spain during the first nine months of 2018, the Spanish government confirmed, Xinhua reported.

The government published a communique containing data from two studies elaborated by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE) into the arrival of foreign tourists and their spending.

Although the number of tourists visiting Spain between January and September is unchanged from 2017, tourist spending increased by 2.5 percent over the first nine months of the year.

Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism Isabel Oliver gave a positive valuation of the data, saying it showed the “stabilization of the number of visitors and is accompanied by an important growth in tourist spending.

“That is the way to continue,” she said, adding that the numbers “motivate us to continue working even harder to maintain our country’s position as a world tourism leader.”

Of the 66.2 million visitors to Spain, almost 15 million came from the United Kingdom, with 9.43 million from France and 9.1 million from Germany. Meanwhile there was an 8.7 percent growth in the number of visitors from the United States and a 5.3 percent increase in the number of Russians.

The Catalan region continues to be the most important tourist destination, with 15.4 million visitors in the first nine months of the year, followed by the Balearic Islands with 12.2 million tourists and the Canary Islands with 10.05 million visitors.

A total of 8.9 million tourists visited Spain during September, which is 0.5 percent more than September 2017. They spent a total of 9.543 million euros (10.86 million U.S. dollars), 0.7 percent higher than in 2017, with the average visitor spending 147 euros (167.3 U.S. dollars) per person per day.

The year 2017 saw 82 million tourists spend holidays in Spain, making the country the second most important destination in the world, beaten only by France.