Spain’s Travel Industry Sets New Record Highs
Despite political unrest in Catalonia, the Spanish government announced it has broken international tourism records for the fifth straight year in 2017.
According to Reuters, tourism officials in Spain revealed Wednesday the number of international visitors arriving in the country climbed 8.9 percent to 82 million tourists last year.
If the preliminary data is confirmed, the record-breaking numbers would make Spain the world’s second most visited country after only France. The tourism numbers would also push the United States to third place.
In terms of tourist spending, the government also revealed the numbers rose 12.4 percent as compared to the 2016 totals. Tourism now accounts for roughly 11 percent of the Spanish economy.
Tourists from Britain remained Spain’s largest group of visitors by nationality, accounting for 18 million tourists last year.
Catalonia faced adversity in 2017 with two terrorist attacks, police violence and mass protests, but the region remained Spain’s most visited. Tourism to Barcelona dropped due to the political unrest, but it rebounded over the last two months.
One reason behind the tourism boom has been the rise of web platforms like Airbnb, which rent out homes to international travelers, but many locals in destinations such as Barcelona, Palma de Majorca and San Sebastian are complaining about the rentals.
Tourism experts expect the boom in Spain to continue over the next several years due to the improved economies in many countries across the world and an increase of flights to Spanish destinations.
Source: Travel Pulse