Spain received 56.7 million tourists in 2011, 7.6% more than the previous year, according to the latest data published today by the Department of Industry.
The figures are slightly lower than those advanced by the Industry Minister, José Manuel Soria, on January 9th, when an 8.1% increase was predicted.
According to today’s data, the main source markets continued to perform well, particularly the UK, which brought in 1.2 million tourists more than in 2010.
With a total of 13.61 million tourists heading to Spain, 24% of the overall total and 9.4% up on the previous year, the UK continued to be Spain’s most important tourist market.
Behind the UK lies Germany, with over 9 million tourists and a 2.5% year on year growth; and France, with 8.5 million visitors, a 4.6% increase on 2010.
Catalunya, with 13.7 million tourists and a 4.7% growth on the previous year, was the most popular destination for tourists coming to Spain last year.
The Canary Islands, with 10.18 million tourists (18.3% up), and the Balearic Islands, with 10.09 million (9.8% more), came in second and third respectively, directly benefitting from the conflicts in Northern Africa.
Tourism dropped 0.6% in Madrid to 4.6 million, despite the massive influx of religious pilgrims for Pope Benedict’s visit in August.
Across the year, international tourism also dropped in Rioja (down by 13.4%), Aragón (5.9 %), Murcia (4.6 %) and Galicia (0.5%).
The majority of tourists, 44.6 million, came to Spain by plane, a 10.1% increase compared with 2010. The number of tourists driving to Spain dropped by 0.2% to 10.48 million.
By type of accommodation, 36.17 million, 9.5% more than in 2010, opted to stay in hotels, whilst 20.4 million visitors, 5.4% more, chose to stay in apartments, rented chalets, campsites, etc.
Source: Tourism up by 7.6% in 2011.