ANDALUCIA’S tourism industry grew to nearly 13% of the region’s gross domestic product last year.

The sector is gradually beginning to recover from its economic slump, according to a report by the Junta’s tourism department statistical unit (Seata).

The Junta’s tourism and commerce chief, Rafael Rodriguez, said tourism gives employment to 329,000 people – up 2.4% from the previous year – and represents 13% of all jobs in the region.

Andalucia had 22.4 million visitors last year, up 4% from 2012 and the largest figure since 2008.

Rodriguez added that tourism ‘suffered the consequences of the crisis later than other sectors and has shown strong signs of recovery much earlier than the rest of the economy.’