World Economic Forum (WEF) has named Spain, a country with more than 3,000 miles of coastline and 48 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the best place in the world to visit in 2019.
With major travel draws such as Barcelona and its La Sagrada Família basilica, Madrid and its famous Prado art museum and the Costa del Sol with warm, inviting beaches, it is easy to see why Spain is the global favourite in the WEF's 2019 Travel & Tourism Competitive Report.
Following second-placed France, Germany's third-place – above the likes of Italy, Japan, and the US – may surprise some.
But the destinations are ranked by "travel readiness" at what the WEF calls a "tipping point" for the travel industry. The 90-strong criteria included infrastructure, safety, and sustainable travel initiatives. Culture, accommodation, and value for money were also taken into account.
Japan and the US rounded out the top five. Yemen came bottom, at number 140.
The top 10 countries have remained largely unchanged from last year's rankings, apart from the UK, which slid from fifth place to sixth.
Italy came in at number eight, and Canada at nine.
To create the biennial table, the WEF looked at four areas of tourism: natural and cultural resources, infrastructure, national travel, and tourism policy, and the "enabling environment" (from safety and hygiene to the labour market). It measured 90 indicators against 14 "pillars" within those areas, meaning all 140 countries were rated for things like cultural resources, air transport infrastructure, and price competitiveness, reports the CNN.
The pillars were then aggregated to form the overall rankings.
Austria – whose capital, Vienna, was named the "most livable city in the world" this month – was ranked 11 overall. It did, however, top the board for "health and hygiene."
Looking at security, Finland, Iceland and Oman were judged the safest countries. El Salvador, Nigeria, and Yemen were ranked the least safe.
The US came top in only one pillar: that of the "human resources and labor market."
Canada was ranked top for air transport infrastructure, and Mexico for natural resources.