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Spain sees record number of tourists in 2016

IANS | Madrid |

Spain welcomed a record number of 75.6 million foreign tourists in 2016, according to data released on Tuesday.

The number of tourists exceeded government estimations and represented a 10.3 per cent increase year on year, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said.

Visitors from the UK made up the largest tourist population, with 17.8 million Britons choosing to holiday in Spain — a 12.4 per cent increase on the previous year, Efe news reported.

UK citizens were followed by the French (11.4 million visitors representing a 7.1 per cent increase) and the Germans (11.2 million, a 6.4 per cent increase).

The autonomous region of Catalonia received most tourists in 2016 (almost 18 million).

The Canary Islands were the second most popular destination (13.3 million) followed by the Balearic Islands (13 million).

Experts have suggested the tourism boom experienced by Spain has been influenced by the security situation of its main competitors such as Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey.

Tourism is one of the main sources of income for the Spanish economy.