10 million guests: Spain’s tourism boom continues

Spain welcomed over 10 million tourists in the first three months of 2014, building on a record 2013 for the sector, and helping the country's struggling economy, official figures released on Tuesday show.

10 million guests: Spain's tourism boom continues
Benidorm is a popular winter destination for Brits seeking sun. File photo: Stephen/Flickr

The 10.1 million international visitors meant numbers were for the three-month period were up 7.2 percent on 2013 figures, according to the figures from Spanish government tourism agency Frontur.

In March alone, 3.9 million tourists visited the country, a slight rise on last year's figures, .

Brits continue to be the largest group of visitors, making up 19.2 percent of all foreign tourists.  

Germany was the next biggest group, providing 16.2 percent of visitors.

There was also a sharp rise in the number of French tourists up 11.5 percent to 1.6 million visitors from January to March.

SEE ALSO: The Local's gallery of Spain's best beaches for 2014

In 2013, Spain overtook China to become the world's third most popular destination for international tourists, by luring 60.6 million visitors.

Those visitors splashed out a new record sum of €59.08 billion ($80.82 billion) as political unrest in Turkey and northern Africa saw tourists turn their attention towards Spain.

Strong figures for national tourism also bode well for Spain's tourism sector for 2014, El País reported on Tuesday.

Hotels saw occupancy rates of 76 percent during Spain's Holy Week celebrations, preliminary figures show, up 7 percent on last year. 

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