The number of foreign tourists on Spain's shores was up 7.1 percent year-on-year, in part thanks to a 9 percent increase in the number of French visitors to 1.8 million in August.
The tourist industry looks likely to beat last year's record number of visitors, with 42.3 million international tourist arrivals between January and August, up 4.5 percent year-on-year.
Increasing numbers of Russian visitors also contributed to the boom, with a 30 percent rise so far this year to 1.1 million, though Britons lead the way with over 10 million already visiting Spain this year.
Madrid suffering tourism slump
However, the Spanish capital famous with its night-life and world-class museums is suffering a slump in visitors which officials blame on a loss of flights and weak promotion. The number of foreign visitors to Madrid in August plunged 22 per cent over last year to 290,494, bringing the total during the first eight months of the year to 2.76 million, a 7.7 per cent drop on the year before.
"The fundamental problem is that Madrid as a destination lacks an international image like Barcelona has," said the secretary-general of the Madrid Association of Hoteliers, Antonio Gil, before adding that spending by the city on tourism advertising campaigns is "clearly insufficient".
The decision by Europe's two largest budget airlines, EasyJet and Ryanair, to drastically reduce their flights to Madrid this year after Spanish airport authority AENA doubled airport taxes at the city's airport, has compounded the problem.
Ryanair cut its capacity to Madrid by 35 per cent while EasyJet stopped basing crew and aircraft in the Spanish capital and reduced seat-capacity to the city by 20 per cent.
Spain's loss-making flag carrier Iberia has also cancelled dozens of routes as part of a major restructuring following its merger with British Airways.
Madrid airport suffered the biggest slump in passenger numbers among Europe's major hubs in August with a 11.7 per cent drop to 3.8 million and was surpassed by Barcelona airport as Spain's busiest airport for the first time that month, according to data from the Airports Council International.
Source: Reuters, News.com.au