Expatica news

Spain second most popular holiday destination

12 December 2003

MADRID – Spain is the second-most popular global holiday destination after France, it was revealed Friday.

The number of visitors and the income generated from visitors to Spain meant it was second only to France in terms of the world’s most popular holiday destinations.

Neither the Iraq war, nor the economy, the SARS epidemic or terrorist attacks on popular holiday destinations in Spain have affected its popularity.

Tourism officials had forecast a total of over 51 million foreigners visiting Spain in 2003.

But from January to October, more than 72 million foreigners came to Spain, of which 65 percent were tourists.

These record figures are between 1.2 percent higher than last year.

Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Spain’s gross national product. This year, officials are hoping for a 4 percent growth in the cash made from tourism compared with EUR 37 billion which the industry made last year.

The spectacular increase is due to several factors including the removal of the so-called ‘tourist tax’ in the Balearic Islands, promotional activities centred around Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and refurbishments carried out on several paradores such as Lerma, Lorca and Alcalá de Henares.

Promotional activities planned for 2004 include the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, World Heritage Cities, the Year of Salvador Dalí and the 500the anniversary of Isabel la Católica, who ruled Spain in the 15th century and expelled the Moors.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news