Tourism numbers up for Spain in first quarter

Statistics released Monday by the tourism department says Spain received 9 million visitors from abroad during the period.

British tourist numbers at 1.8 million — 20 percent of the total — were down by nearly 5 percent but those for the Netherlands and Belgium were up each by more than 20 percent.

Tourism represents 11 percent of Spain’s GDP.

The country is battling to emerge from nearly two years of recession with a European Union-high unemployment rate of 20 percent.

Spain is one of the world’s top three tourist destinations along with France and the United States