Madrid hosted the annual International Tourism and Trade Fair (FITUR) last weekend and this years event was a great success, attracting more than 200,000 visitors.
The fair was inaugurated by the Prince and Princess of Asturias, Don Felipe de Borbon and Doña Letizia Ortiz.
Organisers said there were more attendees and exhibitors than last year with 10,100 companies presenting their products from 167 countries.
Representatives from troubled Egypt and Tunisia were in attendance keen to woo back the tourists lost following recent uprisings and violence. Japanese officials were also in attendance as part of efforts to revive the tourism industry following the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Tourist numbers in Japan had fallen 29% by November.
Officials from Tunisia said they had lost most of their Spanish trade following last years troubles.
“We have lost 30 to 40 percent of tourists. The Spanish market is the one that has caused us the most difficulties. It has fallen 60 percent”, they explained, adding that this is because many Spanish tourists have instead chosen to visit the Canary Islands or Turkey.
Based in Madrid, the United Nations World Tourism Organization said on Monday that “tourist numbers across Europe surged in 2011 as conflicts drove many tourists away from the Middle East and North Africa.”