The figure, released by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, is thought to be 4% more than the previous year and breaks all previous records.
‘More than 74, probably 75 million international travellers have come to Spain’ in 2016, the Madrid-based body’s secretary general, Taleb Rifai, told a news conference.
Spain’s world ranking for its number of foreign visitors will be confirmed when the final tallies are released on January 17.
But Rifai rejected the idea that Spain benefited from security fears in rival holiday hotspots.
He said Spain did well because it is ‘doing the right thing’ in terms of how it promotes itself as a destination and welcomes visitors.
Foreign visitors spent €60 billion in the country last year, making a major contribution to the economy.