Spain's big spending tourists are North Americans, Mexicans and Japanese and the Balearics account for just 3.4 per cent of purchases carried out by foreign tourists in Spain. When it comes to shopping, topping the list for the big-spending visitors are Madrid and Toledo, which each account for 36.8 per cent of the money spent by foreign shoppers, according to retail study group Global refund. Last year, each visitor to Spain spent an average of 378.57 euros, 2.5 per cent more than in the year 200. While the Americans, Mexicans and Japanese are the biggest spenders and shoppers, with preferred goods being clothing and accessories, jewellery and watches, demand for leather goods rose sharply last year by 26.8 per cent good news for Majorca's leather industry. After Madrid and Toldeo, Cataluña is the second most popular shoppers' paradise in Spain, accounting for 27.3 per cent of the money spent by visitors, followed by Andalucia. The Balearics are however well down the shopping list. Ironically, the study reveals that the time of year which attracts tourist shoppers is between the end of August and November, as opposed to the busy summer season months. Last year was obviously hit by the fall out from September 11. In October the number of foreigners coming to Spain to shop fell by 30 per cent and the figures did not start to recover until earlier this year. In January last year, the number of visitors coming on shopping sprees to Spain rose by 72.3 per cent and by nearly 70 per cent in February, but the Balearics are not top of the list as a place for shopping. Over the past few winters, special Christmas shopping trips to Palma have been organised with the German market and there is much talk about promoting Palma's city break attraction in a highly competitive market. It would appear that the weather does not deter tourists from coming to Spain in the winter to shop and Palma has the hotel infrastructure to accommodate weekend visitors in the city centre, just minutes away from the shops.

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