The FIFA World Cup has come to an end with France beating Croatia to earn the most coveted title in soccer.
But there’s another World Cup you may want to pay attention to if you are planning a vacation: the World Cup of Travel.
Taxi2Airport.com, which helps travelers get to and from the airport or station in more than 130 countries, ran its own tournament using the same complicated process as the World Cup.
Rather than competing on soccer abilities, the qualifying countries scored points based on their travel appeal. The factors taken into consideration were: weather, cost, food, culture, nightlife, nature and beaches, and shopping.
The 32 qualifying teams were split into eight groups.
And the winner is: Spain.
It’s a much better showing for the country than it had in the soccer World Cup. Spain was knocked out by Russia early on in the tournament.
Spain outperformed all other countries in culture, food and nightlife. Its 40 cultural UNESCO sites also contributed to its win, as did its Mediterranean climate.
“Spain’s vibrant mix of fascinating cities, idyllic beaches and party resorts means it has something to suit every traveler making it a tough destination to beat,” the judges wrote.
The runner-up was Brazil. In soccer, Brazil lost in the quarterfinals to Belgium.
France, the soccer champion, was a semi-finalist in travel for “its bustling cities, historic landmarks and picturesque coast,” the judges said.
And, of course, it earned high marks for its cuisine.
Japan also lost to Belgium in the soccer tournament but was a semi-finalist in the World Cup of Travel.
Its mountains, natural beauty and parks helped propel it to the top four. “The country’s electric nightlife and eclectic shopping scene also contributed to its consistent performance through the tournament,” the judges said. Its famous sushi helped too.
Take a look at photos of these World Cup champions above.
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