STAFF REPORTER
THE Tourism Secretary General, Raimon Martínez Fraile, yesterday announced the good news that for the first time in the last four years the number of German tourists to Spain has increased.

He also mentioned that, in terms of the Balearic Islands, the good news translated into a 3 percent increase in the number of tourists arriving to the islands last year. This follows three years of decreases.

At a recent press conference, Martínez Fraile explained that the number of foreign tourists that visited Spain last year was 53'6 million, which is a 3.4 percent increase on 2003. In 2003 only 52'4 million tourists came to visit Spain.

He also explained that the first Spanish choice for tourist destination in 2004 was Cataluña, whilst Madrid had the biggest yearly growth in tourist figures with a 10.9 percent increase. In terms of transport, last year foreign tourists “continued to prefer air travel”, with an 4.3 percent increase (36'9 million travellers).

The low-cost airlines have also increased their passenger figures to Spain by 30.1 percent.
Twelve million tourists came by road, which is a 0.2 percent decrease, and 2'9 million tourists arrived by other forms of transport (6.8 percent increase).

TOURISTS from the United Kingdom, Germany and France make up a 62 percent majority of all tourists that arrived in Spain last year.
In terms of the different Spanish regions on offer, Madrid experienced the biggest tourism growth in 2004 (10.9 percent), whilst Cataluña, Andalucia, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands received the highest number of tourists.

Martínez Fraile explained that 12.7 percent of tourists stayed in private houses or family-owned homes, whilst 2.1 percent of total tourists (34'2 millions) preferred to stay in hotels.

The Secretary General underlined the increase in tourists that are changing their travelling habits, for example “the strongest months were April, July and August.

Also, 11 percent (30'6 million) preferred to travel without a package deal, however this does suppose a 5.5 percent decrease since last year.

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