Google forecast: Spain will be the most visited country in the world in 2040

Tourism is a key driver of social and economic growth around the world, but it has obviously been affected by the global pandemic and although in 2023 it reached 88% of the volume of the pre-pandemic years, it is still struggling to maintain growth. The good news, for Spain, is that in 2040 will become the most visited country by tourists on the planet, According to Google.

This is one of the conclusions of the study “Travelers and NextGen destinations: our vision on the transformation of the tourism industry”, prepared jointly by Google and Deloitte, which analyzes the evolution of the sector since 1990 and anticipates how it will continue to develop until 2040. We go by steps. The tourism sector experienced strong growth between 1975 and 2019, a period during which the number of international arrivals doubled approximately every 15 years.

The study reveals that European countries are the main source markets. However, in the period between 2010 and 2019, Africa and APAC (the Asia-Pacific region) have exceeded the average growth, even above that experienced by Europe. In turn, the APAC region has generated nearly 215 million new trips in the last ten years, positioning itself ahead of European countries. In fact, China has grown to occupy the number 1 position in the ranking of issuing markets in 2019joining the leading group made up of Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia.

But the study not only analyzed countries but also travelers and divided them into four different travel patterns based on origin: newcomers, amateurs, experienced and super-experienced. The experienced and super-experienced countries are those with the oldest population, with 50% of the inhabitants over 45 years of age.. As tourists become more experienced, domestic trips per capita tend to decline in favor of foreign trips.

In the ranking of destinations, Europe leads and since 2010, the most visited countries (France, Spain, the United States, Italy and China) have maintained their position and market share. The analysis estimates that by 2040 the number of trips will continue to increase to reach 2.4 billion. While the Five main source markets (China, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Russia) will remain in place, Europe will receive the largest proportion with more than 362 million additional tourists between 2019 and 2040, 38% of the total.

By 2040, the study notes, Spain, France, the United States and China will maintain their position in the top five, while Italy will fall to sixth place and Mexico will rise to fifth. In this medal table, Spain will become the most visited country in the world (it will receive 110 million foreign tourists), five more than France and 10 more than the United States. Obviously, this is good news, but infrastructure will have to be adapted, since we will go from the current 85 million to receive 25 million moremore than a quarter of the current figures.