• Spain's news in English

Spain rated world's most tourist-friendly country

Emma Anderson · 7 May 2015, 10:31

Published: 07 May 2015 10:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 May 2015 10:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The World Economic Forum published the biennial rankings on Wednesday, saying that Spain's move to the top position was "a positive sign for the country's nascent recovery".

"With beautiful heritage sites throughout the country, it boasts top marks for its cultural resources, and also scores highly for business travelers with a significant number of international conferences," the report said.

The country was rated first globally for cultural resources, fourth for supporting tourists' online searches for entertainment and fourth for infrastructure.

Spain jumped to first place this year up from fourth place in the last ranking in 2013, and up from eighth place in 2011.

Still, the report indicated that Spain had some "room for improvement".

"The low rank for business environment (100th) reflects red tape related to construction permits and an inefficient legal framework, while the labour market is still assessed as somewhat rigid (113th) and sees a mismatch between workers’ rewards and productivity (125th)," the report explained.

Earlier this year, Spain broke two records for the number of international tourists in January and February reaching 6.5 million and for tourist spending reaching €6.6 billion.

In Wednesday's tourism ranking, Spain beat out Switzerland, which took first place in 2013 and sank to sixth place this year. 

France took second place after Spain, followed by Germany in third place, the United States in fourth and the United Kingdom in fifth.

The World Economic Forum rated 141 countries across 14 criteria to determine how well each place provided economic and societal benefits in the travel and tourism sector.

The new and growing middle class in countries like China are having more of an impact on tourism in Spain and across the world, the report said, as well as Western seniors and the Millennial generation.

Story continues below…

Spain also saw a surge in tourists from Mexico and Brazil.

These two countries had their own successes in tourism, making it into the top 30.

"The diversity in the top 30 shows that a country does not have to be wealthy to have a flourishing tourism sector," said Roberto Crotti, economist at the World Economic Forum, in a statement. 

"But many countries should still do more to tackle travel and tourism challenges, including visa policies, better promotion of cultural heritage, environmental protection and ICT [information and communications technology] readiness. This in turn would drive economic growth and the creation of jobs."


For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Southern Spain will become a desert with global warming
Photo: Steven Stralton / Flickr

Southern Spain will become a desert if global warning continues, scientists have warned.

Eight Spanish films to truely terrify you this Halloween
Photo: Corie Howell / Flickr Creative Commons.

Looking for something to give you goosebumps this Halloween? The Local looks at eight Spanish films that are sure to have you cowering beneath the covers.

Spain's Socialists refuse to go easy on Rajoy once in power
Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists may have reluctantly decided to let Mariano Rajoy govern again but they will not go easy on the acting conservative premier once he re-takes power, they warned on Thursday.

Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available