Spain's tourism sector is expected to post record revenue in 2023 for the second year in a row despite high inflation, the Exceltur tourism association said Thursday.
It predicted tourism earnings will reach 172.2 billion euros ($189 billion) after a "very good start of the year" and the "positive expectations" of the sector.
This would be an 8.3 percent increase over the record 159 billion euros registered in 2022, and a 9.4 percent increase over 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the sector.
"This central scenario is based on the continuation of strong domestic demand and the consolidation of the recovery" in the European countries from which most foreign tourists come, the group said in a statement.
Spain's tourism industry should also benefit this year from an increase in visitors from further away such as Asia and North America as pandemic travel restrictions have been lifted, it added.
Spain, the world's second most popular tourist destination after France, welcomed in 2022 some 71.6 million foreign visitors, mainly from Britain, France and Germany.
While this was up from the 31.1 million who visited in 2021, it was still below the record 83.7 million foreign visitors who arrived in 2019 before the pandemic hit the sector.
Tourism accounts for some 12 percent of Spain's gross domestic output and the drop in arrivals hit the eurozone's fourth largest economy hard.
Exceltur groups Spain's hotels, resorts, transport companies, car rentals and entertainment businesses.