According to the National Statistics Institute (INE) data, just under three million tourists visited Madrid between January and June 2005, representing an increase of nearly 11 per cent over last year. Of the visitors, 44 per cent came from abroad: 144,000, or 5 per cent, were from the United States, but the British, French and Italians were also well represented. The number of Italians visiting the Spanish capital in the first half of the year increased by 23.2 per cent over 2004; France was also up by 9.2 per cent and Germany by 7.7 per cent. Madrid was the most popular tourist destination in Spain, ahead of Barcelona, and is now fourth in Europe after London, Paris and Rome.
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