Spain has beaten the United States to become the world’s second most visited country after France, it has been revealed.

The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed that his nation has seen a surge in tourism while speaking at an event during a visit to Italy. Speaking in Italy late last night, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said 82 million people visited Spain last year, a 9% increase on 2016.

The staggering figures came despite the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the Catalunya referendum crisis which had as effect a drop in bookings.

Tourism earnings rose 12%, totaling €87 billion. In 2016, Spain welcomed 75.3 million visitors, just behind the United States with 75.6 million, while France – despite its own terror woes – easily remained the world leader with 82.6 million visitors, according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

France – still the most-visited country – said in December it estimated 2017 arrivals at upwards of 89 million.

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