|Spain logs record tourism earnings in 2013
Spain announced Monday it raked in a record 59 billion euros from foreign tourists in 2013, luring an unprecedented number of visitors of whom many splurged more holiday cash.
Foreign tourists in Spain boosted overall spending by 9.6 percent year-on-year in 2013, government figures showed, a significant boost to the fragile Spanish economy, which depends on tourism for more than 10 percent of its economic activity, AFP reports.
"Spain closed 2013 with a historic record in international tourism spending,'' the tourism ministry said in a statement.
British tourists, who flocked to Spain in the greatest numbers, spent a total of 12.0 billion euros, about one-fifth of the total.
They were followed by the Germans who splashed out 9.7 billion euros and the French who spent 5.9 billion euros, the government said.
Russian tourists boosted spending by the greatest margin, lifting expenditure by 29 percent to 2.35 billion euros in 2013, accounting for four percent of the total, it said.
Spain announced last week it had taken the world's number three spot for international tourists in 2013, overtaking China by luring a record 60.6 million visitors, up 5.6 percent from the previous year.
Spain now stands behind only France with 83 million international tourist arrivals and the United States with 67 million, it said.
The tourism industry said it benefited last year from misfortune in Egypt, where political turmoil scared away visitors.
Spain's economy emerged from a two-year downturn by posting 0.1-percent growth in the third quarter of 2013.
The government estimates that it grew by 0.3 percent in the final quarter of 2013, despite being dragged down by an official unemployment rate of more than 26 percent.