Spain received almost 2.5 million foreign tourists in January | M.A.CAÑELLAS

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Spain received almost 2.5 million foreign tourists in January, a fivefold jump from the same month a year ago and roughly 60% of the total that came before the pandemic hit in January 2020, official statistics showed on Thursday.

Total expenditure by foreign tourists rose to 3.03 billion euros ($3.36 billion) compared with 562 million euros a year ago and 4.78 billion euros in January 2020, the National Statistics Institute (INE) data showed.

COVID-19 and the ensuing international travel restrictions brought Spain's economically vital tourism sector to its knees in 2020, but the industry rebounded by some 64% last year and the government expects close to a full recovery this year.

"The January data confirms that the impact of the Omicron variant on tourism has been lower than expected", Spanish Tourism Minister, Reyes Maroto, said in a statement.
She added that her ministry was monitoring how Russia's invasion of Ukraine could affect tourist flows. "The Spanish government is already looking for alternatives to a possible absence of Russian tourists this high season," she said.

According to the INE, more than 18,000 Russian tourists visited Spain in January this year.