MADRID (Reuters) – The number of international visitors to Spain hit an all-time high of 83.7 million in 2019 in a seventh straight year of records, Industry and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said on Monday, adding that she was optimistic about 2020.
Tourist arrivals rose 1 percent last year from a year earlier, Maroto told a news conference.
Spain is the world’s second-most visited country after France and tourism is crucial for the domestic economy, making up nearly 12% of gross domestic product.
“We address 2020 with optimism, because we have a strong and consolidated sector, capable of tackling the challenges ahead of us,” she said, without providing any specific forecast.
Last year, more visitors coming from Asia and the United States offset a decline of travelers from Britain and Germany, who traditionally have been the core of the Spanish tourism.
Maroto said trying to lure visitors from new countries will be one of the ministry’s main priorities along with working to have visitors all year long and not only during the summer high season.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro; Editing Andrei Khalip and Toby Chopra)