Spain was able in the first half of the year to hang onto part of the tourists that were diverted to this country in 2011 by popular uprisings across North Africa.

The Iberian nation received some 33 million foreign visitors from Jan. 1 through June 30, an increase of 3.3 percent over the same period last year.

The World Tourism Organization says that tourists redirected from Egypt and Tunisia last year benefited a number of Mediterranean destinations including Spain, which closed 2011 with 56.7 million foreign visitors, 7.6 percent more than in 2010.

Turkey, the main beneficiary of the diversion of tourists last year, "is not doing so well" this year, WTO sources told Efe.

In the first seven months of this year, Turkey welcomed close to 17.3 million tourists, 1 percent less than during the same months in 2011, following a drop of 0.5 percent in July, a month when Spain saw a 4.4 percent increase.

Spain hopes to consolidate this year the growth it enjoyed in 2011, though it won't be easy considering the current economic uncertainty and the fact that destinations affected by the uprisings are now in a process of recovery, WTO sources said. EFE