THE number of foreign tourists visiting Andalucia rose by five per cent in 2010, despite slight falls seen in traditionally strong markets such as the UK and Germany. According to the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, for the whole of Spain rose by 1.4 per cent after two consecutive years of falls.
This was mainly thanks to two relatively new markets, Italy and Russia, as well as an increased number of visitors from Nordic countries and from France.
The Minister, Miguel Sebastian, remarked that figures for most regions in Spain had been better than the previous year, with the exception of Valencia and Madrid.
The official reports show that 53 million foreign tourists visited Spain in 2010, which the government sees as a sign that the tourism industry is on the road to recovery.
The amount spent by tourists during their stays in Spain also rose by 2.5 per cent and amounted to €49,140m, which means an average of €98 per day.
The minister sustained that the new smoking ban will not affect hotels, and that is important that the administration and private sectors continue to collaborate in order to see better figures in 2011.
He announced that the government plans to invest more than €500m in the coming year to update equipment and infrastructures.
He also spoke of the importance of continuing to promote Spain as a tourist destination for China, which has an important growing economy. More than 100,000 Chinese tourists visited Spain in 2010, and it is hoped the number will be close to one million by 2020, although it is important to create more direct flights to and from China for this to become reality.