Spain Experiencing Record Tourism in 2015
PHOTO: Madrid's Plaza Mayor. (courtesy of the Spanish Tourist Office)
Visitors to Spain are spending a record amount of money, based on data revealed in the latest Tourist Expenditure Survey, the Local reported.
Tourists have spent €37.1 billion ($41.5 billion) in Spain through the first seven months of 2015. The figure signals a hefty 7.7 percent increase over the same period in 2014.
The 37.9 million visitors to Spain between January and July is also a new record.
The survey also found that those visitors spent an average of €978 ($1,094) during their stay in the popular European destination, with a majority of that money being spent in Spain's Catalonia region. Nearly a quarter (23.1 percent) of the €37.1 billion was spent there.
Interestingly, one in four tourists to the country over the first seven months of the year were British, but those British visitors only accounted for one-fifth of the money spent in Spain.
American visitors spent the most money in Spain, averaging €161 ($180) per day.
Despite the influx of tourism dollars that in turn propel the country's economy, government officials have taken several steps to crack down on visitors.
For example, earlier this year, newly-elected Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau Ballano expressed interest in adopting policy to limit the number of tourists to the city, one of the most visited in Europe.
What's more, Catalan authorities announced limits on Airbnb rentals for tourists last month.
Other efforts include new rules and additional patrol in specific parts of the country in order to manage the growing number of tourists.
Given these recent efforts, it will be interesting to see whether Spain's tourism continues to smash records the remainder of the year and into 2016.
More by Patrick Clarke
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