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Spain drew record 8.3 million tourists

AFP-JIJI

A record 8.3 million foreign tourists flocked to Spain in August, with British, French and German vacationers leading the charge, the Spanish government said Monday.

It was the highest monthly number of foreign tourists to Spain since current records began in 1995 and 7.1 percent higher than August last year, the Tourism Ministry said.

The number was swelled by foreign sun seekers avoiding Egypt and Turkey — popular destinations hit by civil unrest this year — the ministry added.

In Spain, the northeastern region of Catalonia — with its beaches and the cultural sites of Barcelona — benefited most, with 2.3 million foreigners heading there.

Close behind were the nearby Balearic Islands with 2.1 million foreign visitors and the southern region of Andalusia, with 1.1 million.

Tourism accounts for 11 percent of the economy, and Spain is the third most visited country in the world, tied with China and behind only the United States and France, figures from the World Tourism Organization show.