MADRID, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The 2013 International Tourism Exhibition (FITUR), held in Madrid last week and closed on Sunday, has been a success, the organizers said on Monday.
The five days of the 38th edition of the trade fair saw an increase in visitor numbers in both industry professionals and people interested in finding information to plan their next holiday.
120,000 tourist industry professionals visited the FITUR exhibition which was held in the IFEMA exhibition center in the Spanish capital city.
That is a 1.3 percent rise on 2012, while 210,000 people attended the fair as casual visitors, despite the fact that this year's edition saw a 5.6 percent fall in the number of exhibitors in comparison with 2012 and the lowest number of stands since 2008 meaning the fair used 'just' eight pavilions instead of the usual nine.
However, the fall in the number of exhibitors did little to diminish interest in a year when the number of international tourists is predicted to grow by around 3 percent, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
This growth comes on the back of positive figures for 2012 in which the one billion barrier of international tourists was broken for the first time in history.
Stands representing all of the continents, especially Africa and South America saw an increase in visitor numbers, while China also attracted great interest after receiving over 60 million foreign visitors last year.
As host nation Spain occupied a large part of FITUR with all of the country's regions represented and traditional tourist traps such as Andalusia and the Costa Blanca having impressive stands.
2012 saw Spain receive 55.7 million foreign tourists, a 2.7 percent rise on 2011. That helped offset a fall in the number of Spanish holidaymakers, with many Spaniards opting to stay at home as a result of the ongoing economic crisis.
With 2013 set to be another tough year for the Spanish economy, while other parts of the world are climbing out of the crisis, the Spanish tourist industry is looking to traditional markets such as Britain and Germany to cover for this shortfall and the ever increasing numbers of Chinese and Russian visitors to maintain the buoyancy of the sector.