– Spain continues to lose ground in the world tourism ranking. This is a worrisome trend for a country that continues at the edge of recession and where tourism provides a substantial proportion of economic income. USA in 2008 pushed Spain out of second place and now this year it is China that has snatched Spain’s third place.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) states that Spain will receive this year 52.8 million tourists, up from 52.2 million in 2009. Instead, China will receive 54.7 million visitors this year.
The contribution of tourism to the Spanish GDP has been declining over the last decade. From a peak of 11.7% in 1999 to settle at 10.3% in 2009.
Moreover, Spain could still be further relegated. According to the report, Spain will stay in fourth place permanently until 2020 and with a considerable lag compared to the first three countries.
According to the report, Spain in 2020 would receive a total of 65.7 million visitors, far from the 81 million visitors the United States will receive, and of the 91.6 million travelers that will choose France, or the overwhelming amount of 103.6 millions of tourists that will visit China at that point in time.
If the trends established by the WTTC hold true, Spain will continue to hold its status as the fourth largest tourism destination in the world, thanks to the ample advantage that separates it from its immediate competitors, which are Italy, with 55 million visitors, and the United Kingdom, 45 million tourists.