Tourists Abandon the US, Choose Spain Instead
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Spain was the second-most popular holiday destination in the world in 2017, according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Although the official UNWTO report will not be published until this spring, all tourism statistics indicate that Spain beat out the United States, with 82 million visitors in 2017, a record-breaking total that marks a nine percent increase over the year.
“We’ve become the world’s second-largest receiver of tourists, and are in second place worldwide in income from tourists,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday.
Rajoy also said that Spain’s total income from tourism rose 12 percent in 2017, to €87 billion ($106.7 billion USD).
Global tourism experienced a boom worldwide, growing to 1.3 billion travelers crossing international borders in 2017, according to latest estimates.
In contrast to Spain’s strong year, the United States experienced a particularly weak year of tourism amongst international travelers. Experts cite multiple factors in the decrease, including a strong US dollar, which made travel comparatively more expensive for foreigners; devastation from multiple natural disasters including hurricanes Irma and Harvey; and October’s Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 people dead and 546 injured.
But the “Trump slump” was one of the top reasons for US tourism decline, according to ForwardKeys, which predicts future global travel patterns by analyzing over 17 million booking transactions per day. President Trump’s series of travel bans against several Muslim-majority countries deterred many international travelers from entering US borders, according to ForwardKeys data.
In contrast, Spain’s impressive tourism growth took place despite a terrorist attack in August in the Catalonia region, home of wildly popular tourist destination Barcelona.
Feature photo of the Triana district, Seville, Spain. (Photo by Mario Gutiérrez/Getty Images)
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.