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British airport travellers are leading an increase in foreign visits to Spain.

The country greeted 5,800,000 international tourists in May, marking a 7.4% year-on-year rise. More than a quarter (27.1%) of them arrived from the UK, mainly from southern airports such as Heathrow. May also witnessed a 9.3% rise in UK visitors to Spain, compared to the same month last year.

Their favourite destination was the Balearic Islands, which welcomed nearly a third of all Spain-bound UK tourists, whose numbers rose 10.8% overall compared to 2012. Britain retains its standing as Spain’s biggest in-bound market, enjoying a cumulative year-on-year increase of 4.4% and accounting for more than a fifth (22%) of all overseas visitors. In the first five months of 2013, Spain has welcomed over 19.8 million international visitors - that's up 3.9% on the same period in 2012. Catalonia registered 1.5 million tourists (up 6.3%) in May for its sixteenth successive month of growth.

The Balearics followed narrowly behind, welcoming 1.4 million tourists (up 13.2%) in the same month, while Andalucía welcomed 781,000 tourists (up 5.7%) . From January to May, Spain benefited from more than 18 million euros (£15,592,680) in tourism income, accounting for a cumulative rise of 7.9% compared to the same five months in 2012. UK visitors make up the largest share of tourism expenditure with nearly a fifth (18.4%).

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