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Tourists flock to Spain in record-breaking numbers

Jessica Jones · 30 Mar 2015, 12:00

Published: 30 Mar 2015 12:00 GMT+02:00

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Spain welcomed 6.5 million international tourists in the first two months of 2015, marking a 4.5 percent rise on the same period last year and a new tourism record for the country. 

Tourists visiting Spain also spent over €6.6 billion ($7.2 billion) during January and February, a record 8 percent more than last year. 

Over half of the 6.45 million tourists who visited Spain in January and February were from the UK, France and Germany according to figures released by the Institute of Tourism Studies last week. 

While the number of Russian visitors was down on this time last year, the number of Italian and US visitors has increased rapidly. 

As many tour operators feared, the weak rouble saw a significant decrease in the number of Russian tourists visiting Spain of 20.2 percent. 

Over 20 percent more Italian tourists visited Spain in the first two months of 2015 than during the same period last year, the figures reveal. The same period also saw an 18.7 percent increase in the number of US tourists visiting the country. 

The most popular destination for international tourists was by far the Canary Islands, which welcomed 2.044 million visitors in January and February, or 31.7 percent of all international tourists to Spain. 

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Catalonia, with its beaches and citybreak favourite Barcelona, was the second most-visited region in Spain, with 1.595 million tourists or 24.7 percent. 

Andalusia was another favourite, welcoming 12.2 percent of tourists, while 10.3 percent visited Madrid and 8.3 percent spent their holidays in Valencia. 

The Balearic Islands, a summer favourite, are a less popular destination during the winter months, receiving 3.6 percent of visitors in January and February. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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