Spain's Credit Rating Downgraded; Tourism Not Impacted by Economy

CNN is reporting that Spain is "in the crosshairs" of Europe's financial crisis. The country is suffering from soaring borrowing costs, a banking system leaking cash and unemployment rates at devastating levels.

Just today, Fitch Ratings downgraded the country's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings on Spain to BBB from A, with a negative outlook. The BBB credit rating is just a notch higher than junk status. According to the Wall Street Journal, the firm said that Spain’s “high level of foreign indebtedness has rendered it especially vulnerable to contagion from the ongoing crisis in Greece.”

Earlier this week, Spain's treasury minister Cristobal Montoro bluntly admitted it was "technically impossible" for Spain to bail itself out, and that the country needed help to access funds. The country is facing a credit freeze after its financial problems were thrown into sharp relief by the bailout of Bankia, the country's fourth-largest bank.

This is even more worrisome for the eurozone than the bailouts of Greece, Portugal and Ireland, because the Spanish economy is the eurozone's fourth-largest (after Germany, France and Italy) making up around 11 percent of the bloc's GDP.

Brunilda Dejesus of travel company Mainly Spain says that, for now, the country's tourism scene is holding with minimal loss—"maybe gaining from Greece's troubles." In fact, many travelers are taking advantage of the situation. "Spain's had no real violence and a better exchange with real bargains [makes it] a good time to go." The dollar-to-euro exchange rate helps, she adds, but the high airfares can be a hindrance—a situation she describes as "frustrating."

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