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Palma.—In 2012 more than 13.6 million Britons visited the Iberian peninsula and its islands.
The second-largest group were the Germans, of whom over 9'350'000 visited in 2012, 4 per cent more than in 2011.
Defying the global recession, 2012 was Spain's third most successful year in tourism to date, surpassed only by 2006 and 2007.
At this week's ITB travel trade fair in Berlin the Spanish Tourist Board presented a survey by the Spanish Institute for Tourism Studies (IET).
2.7 per cent more
According to its figures, around 57.71 million foreign tourists visited Spain in 2012, 2.7 per cent more than in 2011.
The majority of foreign tourists were from the UK. In 2012 more than 13.6 million Britons visited the country.
The second-largest group were the Germans, of whom over 9'350'000 visited in 2012, four per cent more than in 2011.
Third-placed were the French.
Slightly less than nine million of Spain's northern neighbours came to visit.
However, at almost 40 per cent the largest increase in visitors was from Russia. Russian and China tourists are becoming increasingly important for Spain, said the Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria at the ITB fair.

As a result, the number and size of Spanish embassies in Russia was being increased significantly in a number of Russian cities.
Modernisation
In 2013, the minister continued, Spain's ageing hotels would also require modernisation.
In order to achieve this the Spanish government intended to remove bureaucratic and administrative hurdles. “Modernisation projects must be streamlined and we need greater flexibility regarding what has to be done”, Soria said in Berlin. Another goal, he said, was to make greater use of digital and social media.

Spain's aim was to develop new tools so tourists could make easier direct contact.
According to leading German tour operators, some four million Germans will be coming to the Balearics this year, forecasting a record summer, matching reports coming from the United Kingdom which will dominate the Spanish holiday market again this year.