Spain sees tourist arrivals hitting fresh record this summer

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The number of international visitors to Spain is expected to break a record this summer, marking the seventh straight year of new highs, Industry Minister Reyes Maroto said on Wednesday.

Spain is the world’s second most visited country after France and tourism is a pivotal sector for the domestic economy, contributing to nearly 12% of its gross domestic product.

“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.

Tourist spending was also expected to rise to a new record, growing by 3.2% in the July-September period year-on-year to around 33.9 billion euros ($38.3 billion), the minister said.

Spain is focusing on attracting new tourists, such as visitors from China, as well as consolidating mature markets such as the United Kingdom or Germany.

In 2018, some 18.5 million sun seekers from Britain and 11.4 million from Germany visited Spain, according to official data.

Maroto said less than one percent of the Chinese tourists traveling the world were choosing Spain for their holidays.

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