International 10.9.2018 03:58 pm

Spanish tourist numbers fall for first time since 2009

Barcelona, Spain. Picture: iStock

Barcelona, Spain. Picture: iStock

The number of foreign tourists visiting Spain in July fell for the first time in nearly a decade.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Spain in July fell for the first time in nearly a decade, official data showed, as European sunseekers returned to cheaper rival sunshine destinations like Turkey and Tunisia.

Spain, where tourism accounts for around 10% of the economy, has enjoyed a surge in international visitors to its cities and beaches in recent years partly due to security concerns in other popular sunshine destinations in the Middle East and North Africa.

The country surpassed the United States last year to become the world’s second most visited country after France as the number of arrivals in 2017 – 82 million – beat records for the fifth straight year.

Visitor numbers to Spain fell 4.9% to just under 10 million in July over the same month last year, the first drop during the key summer holiday month since 2009.

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