Spain announced Tuesday it has retaken the number three spot in world tourism in 2013, overtaking China by luring a record 60.6 million international visitors.
Foreign tourist arrivals surged by 5.6% in the year, the government said, boosting the eurozone’s fourth largest economy after a long, job-wrecking recession.
“The new figures for 2013 allow our country to retake the number three position in this indicator after having overtaken China,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy boasted.
Spain now stood behind only France with 83 million international tourist arrivals and the United States with 67 million, Rajoy said.
International tourist numbers around the world surged to nearly 1.1 billion in 2013 with growth in the Asia-Pacific region leading the industry to a strong year despite global economic troubles, the World Tourism Organisation announced earlier this week.
The number of international tourist arrivals grew by five percent from the previous year to 1.09 billion in 2013, said the Madrid-based UN body.
Europe, however, remained the biggest destination, with international tourist arrivals up five percent to 563 million.