The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said that last year for the first time Spain surpassed 60 million international tourists, with more than 60.6 million visitors, which is 5.6% more than in 2012.
International arrivals to Spain grew by more than 5%, according to the data of the WTO barometer after completing a year of records as a whole and for six consecutive months, from May to October.
Rajoy highlighted that these figures exceed the record set in 2007, when the country recorded 58.7 million foreign tourists.
"The new 2013 data allow Spain to recover the third position in the world surpassing China and placing us behind France, with 83 million, and the United States, with 67 million international visitors," he said.
Another record was achieved with respect to spending of tourists. Between January and November the spending of foreign visitors reached EUR 55.896 million, nearly nine points over the whole of 2012.
The main markets that increased the amount of tourists in Spain in 2013 were the United Kingdom, with 23.6% of the total, which increased by 5.2% (14.3 million visitors), Germany, with 16.2% which increased by 5.8% of its tourists (9.8 million) and France with 15.7% of the total, which saw a rise of 6.8% to 9.5 million.
Nordic countries were next in the ranking, which now account for 8% of the total, an increase of 16.9% (4.8 million tourists), according to data from the survey of tourist movements Frontur. The highlight was the percentage increase of Russians, which contributed 2.6% of international arrivals in 2013, with 1.58 million visitors, up 31.6%. However, traditional markets recorded considerable decrease – Italy (-8.1%), Portugal (-8.5%), while the amount of tourists from USA decreased by 3.6%.
In December, Spain received 3.1 million international tourists, an increase of 16.3% over the same month of 2012. In the last month of the year, UK was also the first country of origin, with 622,699 tourists, with a rise of 20.2%. Canary Islands was the community that captured British tourists (+9.2%) the most, with significant increases in Catalonia and Madrid.
Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Valencia, Catalonia and the Basque Country reached record highs in international tourist arrivals in 2013. Catalonia led the ranking in 2013, a rise of 8% and got the highest percentage of foreign visitors with 15.5 million arrivals, 25.8% of the total. In December, it received 750,184 tourists, up 20.2%. The markets that grew the most were the United Kingdom and France.
Balearic Islands were the next in the ranking with an increase of 7.2% (11.1 million) and 18.3% of total arrivals. In December 77,976 tourists chose this destination, 9.2% more than in December 2012, which corresponds to 2.5% of total. Most of them were German, British and Dutch.
Canary Islands stood behind them on the third place, with 10.6 million tourists, up 17.5%, with a rise of 4.9%. In December, it was the community that received the most travelers (1.04 million), equivalent to 34% of the total, up 13.2%. Germany, UK and the Nordic countries, were the main markets.
The greatest increase was recorded by Valencia, up 11.4% to reach 5.9 million tourists, with 18.3% of the total of arrivals. In December, 260,834 tourists came to this region, up 16.7%, especially British and French.
On the other hand, the number of tourists in the Community of Madrid reduced by 5.3% to 4.2 million tourists, 7% of the total. However, in December the negative trend of recent months ended as it saw an increase of 19.8%, to 314,991 tourists, up 10.3%.
Airports were the main access path for tourists in 2013, with 80.4% of tourists (48.7 million) coming to the country by plane, while 7.3% of visitors came to Spain on road.