Spain overtakes USA

By | Category: Travel news
a beach in the Canary islands

The Canary Isles; one area helping to give Spain the number 2 position

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, (WTO) Spain is expected to replace the USA as the world’s second-biggest tourism destination.

France remains the most popular country for attracting overseas tourists. In 2016 it attracted 82.6 million visitors and when 2017 figures are published later this year the figure is expected to be higher as the country bounces back from the terrorist incidents that happened in 2016.

In that same year, 2016, Spain was visited by 75.3 million visitors just 300,000 behind the number. But Spain is expected to overtake the USA when the 2017 figures are revealed as the US suffered a slump in visitor numbers. Spain, on the other hand, looks to have encouraged getting on for an additional seven million people to visit their country last year and this is despite events in Catalonia which, it was feared, would deter people from traveling to Barcelona in particular, and the beach resorts generally..

If that extra number proves to be accurate there needs to be a frank discussion on why a country with hundreds of millions to spend on promoting tourism cannot deliver increased numbers. Is it down due to the weakness of currencies against the dollar last year or is there a Trump effect and people are deciding to stay away? Is there another reason? In the past we have seen that Florida and California suffer if there are no headline grabbing new rides at the major theme parks. That wasn’t the case last year performed particularly well given that, at the beginning of the year, it looked as though there wouldn’t be a tourism promotion budget of any size.

Last year according to John Kester, who monitors trends at the WTO, the number of global tourists leaped 7% compared to 2016, the largest increase in seven years. That suggests people around the world felt comfortable travelling and surely that is a happy conclusion to draw.

Europe did better than the average managing to register an 8% increase in tourism. It also means that destinations not managing to see a 7% increase would have seen a decline in their competitiveness.

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