The President of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, officially opened the huge Andalucía stand at the Fitur travel show in Madrid on Wednesday amid official forecasts that 2017 is set to be another record year for tourism in southern Spain.
Touring the space dedicated to Andalucía that takes up one entire exhibition hall at the trade fair, Díaz said that an extra 1.5 million tourists are expected to visit the region this year, an increase of 5%. This would mean a new record tourist count of 30 million for Andalucía.
Díaz added that tourism brought in 19 billion euros annually to the local economy and that Andalucía alone had 40 per cent more international visitors in 2017 than all of Brazil in an Olympic year.
Head of Turismo Costa del Sol, Elias Bendodo, also attending Fitur, predicted 2.6 per cent more visits to Malaga province and the coast this year. "Everything points to an increase in 2017 on the record numbers last year," he said.
International travel show
The Fitur exhibition in Madrid is Spain's flagship event for the world travel trade, bringing together exhibitors and professionals from 165 countries. Now in its thirty-seventh year, the fair provides an important networking opportunity for this key sector of the Spanish economy.
Organisers expect to exceed last year's figure of 231,000 attendees over the event's five days. This Saturday and Sunday, the final two days, the fair is open to the general public.