Spanish tourism has seen a strong year so far—which is great news for a nation still coping with an economic downturn. (Unemployment is hovering at more than 25 percent, the Associated Press is reporting.)
The Telegraph notes that Spain has seen a record 34 million international visitors from January through July, a 3.9 percent year-over-year increase from 2012. July was also a record month for visitors to Spain, with 7.9 million overseas guests arriving—up nearly 3 percent from the previous year.
Last month, the most popular region for visitors was Catalonia, home to Barcelona, Girona - home to the world's best restaurant - and the Pyrenees. The Balearics brought in more than two million visitors in July, with increasing numbers from Germany, Britain, Scandanavia and Russia. In the south, Andalusia—home to Seville, Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada—saw the largest rise in international visitors, with almost one million tourist arrivals in July, a jump of 8.5 percent.
The AP noted that tourism is Spain's second-largest industry following car manufacturing. Back in Spring, we reported that Spain was investing in infrastructure and marketing to boost its international visitor numbers. At the time, we noted that international visits to the country were up by more than 10 percent, and visits from the United States up by more than 9 percent. With a Four Seasons announced for Madrid and high-speed train improvements attracting a new range of travelers, the new visitor numbers may help generate the economic boost Spain needs.