updated 1/15/2010 11:18:47 AM ET 2010-01-15T16:18:47

Spain says the number of tourists visiting the country dropped by 8.7 percent in 2009 because of the economic crisis.

Tourism department chief Joan Mesquida says the number of visitors fell by 5.4 million to 52.5 million.

Mesquida said Wednesday revenue in the sector was down 6.8 percent to euro48 billion ($69 billion).

Spain is consistently ranked within the world's top three tourist destinations — both by arrivals and income earned — along with France and the U.S.

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