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Spanish tourism declines by almost 10% in 2009

Wed 13th Jan 2010

Spain's tourist arrivals decreased by 8.7 per cent to 52 million foreign tourists in 2009 in a blow to one of the country's key industries, a senior official said Wednesday. It was the second consecutive annual fall after the tourism industry made the record of more than 59 million arrivals in 2007.

However, tourism contracted by less than the expected 10 per cent in 2009, tourism secretary of state Joan Mesquida said.

Analysts attribute the decline largely to the impact of the economic crisis in Spain's main tourism clients such as Britain, Germany and France.

Spain is consistently ranked as the world's third-largest tourist destination after France and the United States. Tourism contributes about 10 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and gives direct or indirect employment to more than 2 million people.

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