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International football is one of Spain's biggest tourist magnets – especially for Brits
thinkSPAIN , Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SUN, sea and sand were only part of the reasons for foreigners seeking holidays in Spain last year – visitors were just as likely to make the trip to watch football matches.

Spanish League, or La Liga games drew in practically as many tourists in 2015 as the country's beaches – a huge percentage of spectators were foreign.

Brits and South Koreans each bought 12% of tickets on sale for Liga matches, accounting for nearly a quarter of fans between them, and adding on the 11% sold to visitors from the USA, these three countries made up over a third of the audience at key games, says booking portal Ticketbis.

The highest numbers of tourists were seen at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium (pictured) and Barça's Camp Nou ground, although the Bernabéu sold 8% more tickets than the latter.

Over 30 different nationalities watched Spanish football matches live last year, with the Spanish League being the most international of any other competition in Europe in terms of its audience.

In fact, only 31.8% of spectators at Liga matches in 2015 were Spanish.

After British, South Korean and US nationals, the most tickets were sold to French, German and Brazilian citizens.

Beyond Spain, tourists from the USA made up the highest national group of spectators at the British Premier League matches, whilst east and south-east Asians were most prolific at the Bundesliga, or German league games, and Germans and French fans were the main foreign visitors at the Italian league competition.

For Spain, however, the Liga meant tens of thousands of tourists at a time descending on Barcelona and Madrid, staying in hotels, dining and drinking out, and spending money in shops and on transport, meaning the economic impact of the matches spread way beyond the stadia.



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