Spain Sees Increase in Visitor Numbers

Great news for Spain this morning: Almost 2.8 million foreign tourists came to Spain last month, a 4.6 percent increase on January 2011, according to

These latest figures compiled by Frontur show an increase of 122,000 foreign visitors in January 2012 compared with the same month the previous year, and suggests that the upward trend set last year is set to continue. Tourism figures went up by 7.6 percent last year, reaching a total of 56.7 million foreign visitors in one year.

The Canary Islands has benefitted from the tourism redirected from troubled countries like Tunisia and Egypt, with 33.7 percent of all foreign tourism. It was the region that saw the sharpest growth in absolute terms during the month of January with 70,000 more tourists than the first month of 2011—an increase of 8.1 percent.

22.3 percent of foreign tourists headed to Catalunya, which saw a 8.2 percent rise in tourism—46,600 more visitors in absolute terms.  Madrid, with the third-largest number of foreign visitors, recorded the highest year-on-year increase, with 15 percent (or 44,600) more tourists than in January last year.

In contrast, Andalusia saw its tourism figures drop by 10 percent, with 33,255 fewer tourists; the Comunidad Valenciana received 23,300 fewer (a 9.1 percent fall) and the Balearic Islands lost 25,400 visitors, a drop of 22.6 percent.

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Tourism commissioner Joseph Boschulte attributes much of the success in attracting visitors to the existence of the Travel Screening Portal.