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Spain's tourism activity drops 7% in Jan.-Mar.

Spain's tourism activity saw a decrease of 7 percent in the first three months this year compared with the same period of 2008, as a result of the global financial crisis, local media reported Tuesday.

 

The lower tourism activity caused a loss of 86,000 jobs in the period and the figure was expected to reach 110,000 by June, local media quoted a report issued by Exceltur, an entrepreneur organization, as saying.

 

For Spain, tourism is the country's top hard currency earner. This year, Spain's currency earnings from tourism is expected to decrease by 5.6 percent from the previous year.

 

The average hotel occupation rate also dropped by 6.1 percent in the period, with February's rate reaching the lowest level for the last 10 years.

 

Britain and Germany ranked the Top Two tourist sources for Spain, and the number of British tourists visiting Spain fell by 23.3 percent, while German tourists, 15.7 percent.

 

Businessmen in the sector have called on the government to give priority to tourism to drive it out of the current crisis.

 

(Xinhua News Agency April 22, 2009)