With 35.4 million visitors in 2017, the Kingdom dropped one spot from ninth in 2016 to 10th last year, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said in its recently released tourism highlights.
France remained the most popular destination, with 86.9mn travellers, while Spain overtook the United States as the second most-visited destination when it recorded 81.8mn international arrivals, compared with 75.9mn in the US.
The top three countries enjoying the most spending from visitors were unchanged, led by the US ($210 billion), Spain ($68bn) and France ($60.7bn).
The Tourism and Sports Ministry projected 38mn visitors this year, about 11mn from China. The country reached half-way of the target when more than 19mn arrived in the first six months.
The ministry expected a drop of Chinese tourists last month in the wake of the Phoenix boat tragedy in Phuket in July that killed 47 travellers from China.
China dominated global tourism last year with plenty of money to splash out. They spent almost $258bn last year, accounting for almost one-fifth of the world’s total spending of $1.3 trillion.
“China continues to lead global outbound travel in terms of expenditure,” the report said.
International tourist arrivals set a new record of 1.32bn last year and the tourism sector has grown for eight years in a row, it added. The report did not detail nationalities of outbound travellers.
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