Spain is set to replace the USA as the world's second most popular tourist destination. This is according to statistics the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The number international tourists arriving Spain grew over 7 per cent in 2017. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy corroborated the figures. He said the country had a record year 2017, with more than 82 million international visitors. The growing number international arrivals continues a growing trend. The figure 2017 broke Spain's tourist arrival records the fifth straight year. This is despite the terror attack Barcelona in August, and demonstrations and unrest in Spain's Catalonia region independence.
There was an 8 per cent increase tourism to Europe in 2017. The UNWTO said: "Led Mediterranean destinations, Europe recorded extraordinary results such a large and rather mature region." Africa is increasingly becoming an established and attractive destination and tourism there also went by 8 per cent. Asia and the Pacific saw growth 6 per cent, the Middle East recorded 5 per cent, and tourism to the Americas grew 3 per cent. The UNWTO added: "International travel continues to grow strongly, consolidating the tourism sector a key driver economic development." France retained its position as the world's top tourist destination.