Spain's visitor arrivals increased at a faster pace in December amid a recovery in domestic tourism from the pandemic related woes and due to the year-end holidays, data from the statistical office INE showed on Thursday.

Tourist arrivals climbed 39.9 percent year-on-year after a 29.2 percent rise in November.

The number of international tourists was 4.1 million in December, of which UK visitors accounted for the biggest share of 18.4 percent.

Spain welcomed 665,249 tourists from France, indicating a 25.4 percent increase compared to a year ago. Arrivals from Germany totaled 454,601, representing a 12.4 percent spike.

For the full year 2022, arrivals increased 129.5 percent to 71.6 million compared to 2021. The main countries of residence of tourists were the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Read more: Spanish Economy Grows More Than Expected In Q4 Spain Retail Sales Rebound In December

"Spanish tourism experienced a solid recovery last year although the number of visitors was still only 86 percent of pre-Covid levels," Wouter Thierie, and economist at ING, said.

"A further recovery will support Spanish growth in 2023."

The economist expect the number of international visitors to Spain to grow by around 10 percent this year, mainly led by the Chinese tourists who are keen to travel again after pandemic restrictions are lifted.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism contributed 14 percent to total GDP of Spain in 2019, thus it is a key sector for the economy.

Separate official data revealed that total expenditure made by international tourists visiting Spain in December reached EUR 5.241 billion, which represents a 48.2 percent surge compared to the same month last year.

The average daily expenditure incurred per tourist rose by 5.9 percent to EUR 1.2 million.

Data also showed that spending in 2022 totaled EUR 87.06 billion, which was 149.4 percent more than in 2021, but 5.3 percent less than in 2019.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the labor ministry reported that the number of jobless in Spain rose sharply in January, reflecting the usual trend of rising unemployment at the start of the year. Yet, the overall total of those without jobs was the lowest for the month since 2008.

The number of registered unemployed increased by 70,744 persons from December, data from the labor ministry showed Thursday.

The number of unemployed totaled 2.91 million, the lowest for the month of January since 2008.

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