Spain in World’s Top Ten for Tourism

March 11th, 2013

Spain has risen to fourth place on the list of the world’s most competitive countries for tourism, only behind Switzerland, Germany and Austria, thanks to its price competitiveness, customer experience and the official commitment of the sector.

This is indicated in the biannual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, published last Thursday by the World Economic Forum (WEF), in which Spain climbed four places compared to the 2011 report.

The report establishes the tourism and competitiveness ranking according to a wide range of variables, such as national legislation, environmental sustainability, security, infrastructure, political priority or cultural resources.

Spain stands out for its cultural heritage, a chapter in which it ranks first, thanks to its significant number of world heritage sites, and excels in its capacity and preparation to hold many trade fairs and exhibitions, as well as the variety and modernity of its sports facilities.

In terms of tourism infrastructure, Spain stands in fifth place, contributing to this classification with its hotel capacity, car rental facilities and the large number of ATMs that accept Visa credit cards. It also scores well in terms of air and land transport infrastructure, where it ranks tenth.

Importance of the sector in times of crisis

The report, published under the theme “Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation”, examines 140 economies from all around the world and seeks to highlight the importance of the tourism sector in the economic development of a country. In this regard, the report stresses that tourism is “even more important today” than in previous decades and in an environment of crisis, because of its important role in job creation.

The report stresses that the Spanish Government gives significant priority to tourism, a sector in which the country makes great efforts to attract tourists through “solid promotion campaigns and destination marketing.” These efforts are continuing, “even when the Government is struggling to overcome a great debt,” said Thea Chiesa, WEF Director of Tourism and Aviation. “The strength of Spain in this industry is incredibly important and is traditionally a major employer of young people, and their success here could present a credible solution to the unemployment crisis,” said Chiesa.

The WEF report indicates that Spain’s improvement over 2011 is due to the implementation of specific policy measures, such as those which make it easier and cheaper to start up a business, according to data from the World Bank, and also to the lowering of hotel prices.

Chiesa insisted that “the price competitiveness and customer experience remains a problem for some of Spain’s neighbours, as well as taxes and a lower priority by governments, issues that also contribute to the movements in the ranking.”

With all this background and improvements in the country, Diario Sur reported that Spain climbed four places to rank in fourth position, ahead of its position of two years ago when it dropped two places to stand in eighth position, and compared with the sixth position it occupied in 2009.

The United Kingdom, the United States, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore complete the top 10 of the most competitive countries, sorted by their position in the ranking from fifth to tenth.

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