Spain is expected to become the second most popular tourist destination in the world, overtaking the US, as the so-called Trump Slump is causes tourism to the US to dip.
Though the official statistics by the UNWTO have not yet been released, its current projections suggest that arrivals to the US are down from 75.9m in 2016, to 72.9m in 2017.
Timeline for Comment wire
- February 25, 2020
- February 25, 2020
The Trump Slump — that fewer people will visit the US due to their opinion of US president Donald Trump — is set to hit the US economy to the tune of $140m a week, equivalent to $7.3bn a year.
President Trump’s travel ban on eight countries – the majority of which are Muslim – is a key reason behind the fall in arrivals.
The travel restrictions, seen by many as state-sponsored Islamophobia, are putting off many travellers from visiting the US.
The ban has given rise to a general wave of withdrawals particularly among Middle Eastern, African and European tourists.
Likewise, flows from Mexico have also registered a decline, as Mexican citizens seek to boycott the construction of the Trump Wall at the border between Mexico and the US.
New York City and Los Angeles are the only exceptions to the dark period that US tourism is undergoing.
Arrivals to Los Angeles increased by 2.2 percent, mainly due to a growth in domestic arrivals and Chinese visitors.
As for New York, whereas the city experienced a slight decline in international travellers, a surge in US visitors resulted in a 2.1 percent overall growth in arrivals.
Despite the recent political uncertainty following the Catalan independence referendum and the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils last August, the tourism industry of Spain not only has been immune to such shocks, but also experienced strong growth.
International arrivals to Spain increased by 4.8 percent; from 75.6m tourists in 2016 to 79.3m in 2017, according to GlobalData figures.
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The UK, followed by France and Germany are the three largest source markets for Spain, making up 53 percent of total arrivals to the country.
According to prime minister Mariano Rajoy, early projections show that the total tourist expenditure in Spain also recorded an all-time high, reaching £77bn in 2017.
The positive performance of tourism in Spain is representative of the general state of the European and global travel industry.
Though Europe is a well-established tourist market, arrivals to the continent are growing rapidly both in traditional tourist hotspots such as Italy, France, Germany and Greece, and in emerging holiday destinations like Scandinavia and Central and Eastern Europe.
Similarly, 2017 has been a record year for the global travel and tourism industry with international arrivals surging by seven percent, as 1.3bn tourists travelled across the world.
Such figures underline the growing importance of the sector for the global economy, as well as its potential for promoting shared prosperity across geographies while fostering cultural understanding.
At the same time, they stress the growing responsibility of key tourist players to manage such flows in a sustainable manner.
Rapidly growing tourism flows herald a strong 2018 for the industry.
Yet, as Spain overtakes the US in the list of the most visited countries in the world, the global community has sent a strong message, showing that divisive and discriminatory policies can greatly hamper the potential and growth of the sector, ultimately holding back prosperity for millions of people around the world.