Tourist arrivals in Spain rises in 2010

January 25th, 2011 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 25 (IANS/EFE) Last year Spain welcomed 52.6 million foreign tourists, 1 percent more than in 2009, authorities said.The figures released previously by the Industry, Tourism and Trade Ministry indicated a growth of 1.4 percent, or some 53 million tourists.

However, the figures from the Frontur border entry survey, released Monday, continue to show a reversal in the trend of tourist arrivals in Spain after two straight years of decline.

The ministry said that forecasts for 2010 presaged a further downturn in tourism, but the sector “has broken with the predictions of only six months ago and has ended the year with positive figures” and the first annual growth since 2007.

After the first six months when tourist arrivals were still affected by the recession and external factors such as the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, the sector entered a process of recovery in the second half of the year.

This positive evolution also allowed tourism in 2010 to provide a heftier chunk of Spain’s gross domestic product for the first time in 10 years.

Contributing to this evolution were increases in arrivals from France, the Nordic countries and Italy, since the two main sources of tourism to Spain, Britain and Germany, were in negative territory compared to previous years, with 6.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Nonetheless, they remained the two biggest sources of tourists to Spain with 12.5 million and 8.8 million, more than 50 percent of the total.

The recovery in 2010, when there were seven straight months of increases in the number of tourists, went somewhat sour in December because of the bad weather in Europe and the closure of Spanish air space for a day, due to a brief but massively disruptive strike by air traffic controllers.

–IANS/EFE
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