Spain has moved up from fourth to third place in the number of inbound tourists, behind only France and the United States with over 65 million tourists arriving on its shores last year. In terms of total tourist spending, however, with 63 billion euros, in second position it occupies one place higher.
José Manuel Soria, the minister for tourism, said that Spain heads up the classification of tourism competitiveness drawn up by the World Economic Forum. Whilst this indicator includes elements such as climate and territory, it also includes the increasing diversification of the Spanish tourism offer, as well as the priority given to tourism in public policy and safety.
"I mean Safety in the broadest sense of the term, not only the safety with which tourists can move throughout the country, but also from the point of view of the National Health System; any tourist can resort to any regional service in any part of Spain and be attended with quality standards which are very highly rated", he said.
The minister declared that the outlook for this summer is very good and that "the leisure industry during the course of the whole of this month of July is improving" largely in view of the development of the economies in emitting tourist countries - mainly the United Kingdom, Germany and France - and also the economic recovery and increased consumption in Spain. "Spaniards are travelling more both within Spain and beyond", he claimed.
Soria specified that the number of overnight stays will increase by some 20% this summer and that the level of occupancy will reach 90% in some places on the coast; positive occupancy figures are also expected for interior and rural tourism.
The number of tourists is increasing at a rate in excess of 5% and, "if things continue this way", he concluded, "this year we will probably see a new all-time record in the tourism sector once again".
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