The number of international tourists visiting Spain grew by one percent, the first increase since 2007, according to new figures. The UK was the largest tourist market for the country, accounting for 23.6 percent (nearly 12.5 million) throughout last year. Despite recording a fall of 6.5 percent over 2009, Britain remains the most important market, followed by Germany - with 8.8 million tourists - and then France, which reached 8.1 million tourists for 2010. According to the survey of the Frontier Tourist Movement (FRONTUR), compiled by the Institute of Tourism Studies, Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce Spain, the country welcomed a total of 52.6 million international tourists. “The forecasts for 2010 predicted a drop in tourism, but the sector has broken the forecast six months ago and ended the year with positive and tourist arrivals have been the first positive annual growth since 2007,” a statement from FRONTUR read. “After a first half of year when tourist arrivals were affected by the crisis and external factors such as the eruption of Iceland, the industry experienced a recovery in the second half of the year. Moreover, this positive development in 2010 has allowed tourism to GDP gains for the first time in ten years.”As a result, Spain received 2.6 million international tourists in the last month of the year, representing a fall of 4.6% over the same month in 2009. Catalonia was the main destination for international tourists with 25 percent of visits and more than 13.1 million tourists, representing an increase of 3.7 percent compared to 2009.