Spain saw record number of visitors in 2017 despite scares

Markets Associated Press

Spain says it had a record number of international visitors in 2017 and that one in five tourists chose the restive Catalonia region as their main destination.

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Preliminary statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism late Wednesday showed Spain had 82 million visitors from other countries last year, an increase of nearly 9 percent from 2016.

The ministry says the annual numbers, the fifth in a row to set a record, let Spain surpass the United States in the volume of incoming tourists to become the world's second most-visited country after France.

Some 18 million visitors went to Spain's northeast Catalonia region, where the killing of 16 people in extremists' attacks over the summer and a Catalan push for independence in October had raised concerns in the industry.