Spain tops EU travel destination rankings

Spain was the most popular overseas destination for people living within the European Union in 2012, while the vast majority of Spaniards didn't leave the country when travelling, official figures released on Friday show.

Spain pipped evergreen favourites France and Italy to top the tourism and business travel rankings released by the EU statistics agency Eurostat.

But 92 percent of the trips made by Spaniards were within the country, the figures also show. That's against an EU average of 74 percent.

Spaniards also had a shorter average trip duration of 4.7 nights, against an EU average of 5.1 nights.  

The top foreign destinations for Spaniards were France, Portugal and Italy.

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Spain was the most popular travel destination for people from the UK, Portugal, and France while it was the second most popular choice for Belgians, Italians and the Irish.

Spain received around 1.3 million more foreign visitors more from January to April 2014 than in the same period last year, recent figures from Spanish government agency Frontur show.

The number of tourists from Germany was up 11 percent to 2.51 million, while 3.1 million Brits arrived (up 6.5 percent). In addition, 13 percent more Italians flocked to Spanish shores (0.87 million).

In 2013, Spain overtook China to become the world's third most popular destination for international tourists, by luring 60.6 million visitors.

Those visitors splashed out a new record sum of €59.08 billion ($80.82 billion) as political unrest in Turkey and northern Africa saw tourists turn their attention towards Spain.  

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