Spain welcomed 10.1 million international tourists during this year's first quarter, 7.9 percent more than during the same period in 2013, the government said Thursday.

Britain was the leading source with 1.9 million tourists, up 6.7 percent from a year ago; followed by France and Germany, with 1.6 million each; and the Nordic countries, with a total of 1.2 million.

The Industry, Energy and Tourism Ministry forecasts that in the second quarter tourist arrivals will increase, influenced by Holy Week, to some 17 million, which would be a 2 percent rise over 2013.

Spending is also forecast to grow compared to last year, although at a slower rate than arrivals, exceeding the 15 billion euros ($20.8 billion) spent during the second quarter of 2013.

Tourism is a leading source of revenue for the Spanish economy. In 2012, the sector accounted for 10.9 percent of GDP and employed 2.1 million people. EFE