Spain is already the second most visited country in the world, after France, having overtaken the USA in 2017. But despite the increase in numbers year on year, the growth was expected to slow as other Mediterranean destinations, including Turkey and Tunisia, recovered.
However, this week, Spain’s Industry Minister, Reyes Maroto, predicted that half a million more visitors would visit Spain over the summer period than last year.
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“Spain will reach a new record in arrivals of international tourists, exceeding 29.6 million visitors … half a million more than last summer,” Maroto told a news conference.
He predicted that spending would set a new record, growing by 3.2 percent in the July-September period year-on-year to around 33.9 billion euros ($38.3 billion), the minister said.
Last year Spain set a new record with 82.6 million foreign visitors to its shores, with British visitors representing the largest national group.
Tourism continues to be a mainstay of Spain’s economic growth representing 11.9percent of GDP in 2018, according to Exceltur data.
The sector ratcheted up €142 billion ($162 billion) in sales last year, 2 percent more than in 2017.
But Spain is struggling with overtourism in some places and faced a backlash from local residents, most notably in Barcelona, the Balearic Islands and even Madrid, where city councils have sought to limit tourist rentals.