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Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021: Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future
Embeddinginclusivity, sustainability, and resilience into the Travel and Tourism sectors as it recovers will ensure it can continue to be a driver of global connectivity, peace, and economic and social progress.
The Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) 2021 is an evolution of the 15-year-old Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) series, a flagship index of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Mobility. This revised index serves as a strategic benchmarking tool for policy-makers, companies and complementary sectors to advance the future development of the Travel and Tourism (T&T) sector by providing unique insights into the strengths and development areas of each country/economy to enhance the realization of sector potential and growth. Furthermore, it serves as a platform for multistakeholder dialogue to understand and anticipate emerging trends and risks in global T&T, direct policies, practices and investment decisions, and accelerate new models that ensure the longevity of this important sector. The publication’s theme is “Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future”. The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the greatest challenges the T&T sector has faced, undermining not only the prosperity of businesses within the sector but also the well-being of tens of millions of employees, local communities and entire economies around the world. At the time of writing, the sector, and the world at large, is starting to assess the impact of the war in Ukraine. Global shocks such as this bring additional instability and economic disruption to the sector and could have long-term impacts on T&T development, as has happened with the pandemic. As the sector slowly recovers, it will be crucial that lessons are learned from recent and current crises and that steps are taken to embed long-term inclusivity, sustainability and resilience into the T&T sector as it faces evolving challenges and risks. In doing so, the sector can continue to be a driver of global connectivity, peace and economic and social progress. T&T development strategies will play an important role in accomplishing this. Accordingly, important changes have been made between the TTCI and the TTDI.
The TTDI benchmarks and measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable and resilient development of the T&T sector, which in turn contributes to the development of a country”. The transformation of the TTCI into the TTDI reflects the index’s increased coverage of T&T development concepts, including sustainability and resilience impact, on T&T growth and is designed to highlight the sector’s role in broader economic and social development as well as the need for T&T stakeholder collaboration to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, bolster the recovery and deal with future challenges and risks. Some of the most notable framework and methodology differences between the TTCI and TTDI include the additions of new pillars, including Non-Leisure Resources, Socioeconomic Resilience and Conditions, and T&T Demand Pressure and Impact.
The index is comprised of five subindexes (used for presentation and categorization purposes only), 17 pillars, and 112 individual indicators, distributed among the different pillars.
Relatively stagnant TTDI results reinforce the difficult situation the T&T sector faces. On average, TTDI scores increased by just 0.1% between 2019 and 2021, with only 39 out of 117 economies covered by the index improving by more than 1.0%, 51 increasing or decreasing within a 1.0% range and 27 declining by over 1.0%.
Aside from the United States (2nd), the top 10 scoring countries are high-income economies in the Europe and Eurasia or Asia-Pacific regions. Japan tops the ranking, with fellow regional economies Australia and Singapore coming in 7th and 9th, respectively. Meanwhile, Italy joined the top 10 (up from 12th in 2019) in 2021, while Canada slid out (10th to 13th). The remaining top 10 TTDI performers are Spain (3rd), France (4th), Germany (5th), Switzerland (6th) and the United Kingdom (8th). Viet Nam experienced the greatest improvement in score (+4.7%, 60th to 52nd) on the overall index, while Indonesia (+3.4%, 44th to 32nd) and Saudi Arabia (+2.3%, 43rd to 33rd) had the greatest improvement in rank. Meanwhile, Malaysia (-3.0%, 29th to 38th), India (-2.6%, 46th to 54th) and Mongolia (-2.1%, 76th to 84th) had the largest declines in ranking.
The key findings of the index show the following:
The need for T&T development has never been greater: The T&T sector is a major driver of economic development, global connectivity and the livelihood of some of the populations and businesses most vulnerable to, and hardest hit by, the pandemic. Therefore, supporting T&T development and recovery – which in turn will help the global recovery, build resilience and support all of those who depend on the sector for work – will be critical.
The T&T sector has faced difficult operating conditions, but shifting demand dynamics have created opportunities and a need for adaptation: In the shorter term, challenges such as reduced capacity, geopolitical tensions and labour shortages are slowing recovery. However, opportunities have been created in markets such as domestic and nature-based tourism, the rise of digital nomads and “bleisure”. 1 The T&T sector stakeholders’ ability to adapt under these conditions highlights its capacity for adaptation and flexibility.
T&T development strategies can be employed to help the sector build back better: Amid the current challenges, shifting demand dynamics and future opportunities and risks, a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector can be – and needs to be – built. However, this calls for thoughtful and effective consideration. It also requires leveraging development drivers and strategies, including: restoring and accelerating international openness and consumer confidence, via, for example, improved health and security; building favourable and inclusive labour, business and socioeconomic conditions; focusing more on environmental sustainability; strengthening the management of tourism demand and impact; and investment in digital technology.
Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
Global tourism industry - statistics & facts
What are the most popular tourist destinations worldwide, digitalization of the global tourism industry, how important is sustainable tourism, the impact of covid-19 on global tourism, key insights.
Total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP worldwide 2019-2033
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 1950-2022
Global leisure travel spend 2019-2022
Editor’s Picks Current statistics on this topic
Current statistics on this topic.
Leading global travel markets by travel and tourism contribution to GDP 2019-2022
Travel and tourism employment worldwide 2019-2033
- Hotel industry worldwide
- Travel agency industry
- Sustainable tourism worldwide
- Travel and tourism in the U.S.
- Travel and tourism in Europe
- Basic Statistic Total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP worldwide 2019-2033
- Basic Statistic Travel and tourism: share of global GDP 2019-2033
- Basic Statistic Leading global travel markets by travel and tourism contribution to GDP 2019-2022
- Basic Statistic Global leisure travel spend 2019-2022
- Premium Statistic Global business travel spending 2001-2022
- Premium Statistic Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 1950-2022
- Basic Statistic Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 2005-2022, by region
- Basic Statistic Travel and tourism employment worldwide 2019-2033
Total contribution of travel and tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide in 2019 and 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2033 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
Travel and tourism: share of global GDP 2019-2033
Share of travel and tourism's total contribution to GDP worldwide in 2019 and 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2033
Total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in leading travel markets worldwide in 2019 and 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Leisure tourism spending worldwide from 2019 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Global business travel spending 2001-2022
Expenditure of business tourists worldwide from 2001 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide from 1950 to 2022 (in millions)
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 2005-2022, by region
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide from 2005 to 2022, by region (in millions)
Number of travel and tourism jobs worldwide from 2019 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2033 (in millions)
- Premium Statistic Global hotel and resort industry market size worldwide 2013-2023
- Premium Statistic Most valuable hotel brands worldwide 2022, by brand value
- Basic Statistic Leading hotel companies worldwide 2022, by number of properties
- Premium Statistic Hotel openings worldwide 2021-2024
- Premium Statistic Hotel room openings worldwide 2021-2024
- Premium Statistic Countries with the most hotel construction projects in the pipeline worldwide 2022
Global hotel and resort industry market size worldwide 2013-2023
Market size of the hotel and resort industry worldwide from 2013 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
Most valuable hotel brands worldwide 2022, by brand value
Leading hotel brands based on brand value worldwide in 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Leading hotel companies worldwide 2022, by number of properties
Leading hotel companies worldwide as of June 2022, by number of properties
Hotel openings worldwide 2021-2024
Number of hotels opened worldwide from 2021 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2024
Hotel room openings worldwide 2021-2024
Number of hotel rooms opened worldwide from 2021 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2024
Countries with the most hotel construction projects in the pipeline worldwide 2022
Countries with the highest number of hotel construction projects in the pipeline worldwide as of Q4 2022
- Premium Statistic Airports with the most international air passenger traffic worldwide 2022
- Premium Statistic Market value of selected airlines worldwide 2023
- Premium Statistic Global passenger rail users forecast 2017-2027
- Premium Statistic Daily ridership of bus rapid transit systems worldwide by region 2023
- Premium Statistic Number of users of car rentals worldwide 2018-2027
- Premium Statistic Number of users in selected countries in the Car Rentals market in 2022
- Premium Statistic Carbon footprint of international tourism transport worldwide 2005-2030, by type
Airports with the most international air passenger traffic worldwide 2022
Leading airports for international air passenger traffic in 2022 (in million international passengers)
Market value of selected airlines worldwide 2023
Market value of selected airlines worldwide as of May 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Global passenger rail users forecast 2017-2027
Worldwide number of passenger rail users from 2017 to 2022, with a forecast through 2027 (in billion users)
Daily ridership of bus rapid transit systems worldwide by region 2023
Number of daily passengers using bus rapid transit (BRT) systems as of April 2023, by region
Number of users of car rentals worldwide 2018-2027
Number of users of car rentals worldwide from 2018 to 2027 (in millions)
Number of users in selected countries in the Car Rentals market in 2022
Number of users in selected countries in the Car Rentals market in 2022 (in million)
Carbon footprint of international tourism transport worldwide 2005-2030, by type
Transport-related emissions from international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2005 and 2016, with a forecast for 2030, by mode of transport (in million metric tons of carbon dioxide)
- Premium Statistic Market size of museums, historical sites, zoos, and parks worldwide 2022-2027
- Premium Statistic Leading museums by highest attendance worldwide 2019-2022
- Basic Statistic Most visited amusement and theme parks worldwide 2019-2022
- Basic Statistic Monuments on the UNESCO world heritage list 2023, by type
- Basic Statistic Selected countries with the most Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide 2023
Market size of museums, historical sites, zoos, and parks worldwide 2022-2027
Size of the museums, historical sites, zoos, and parks market worldwide in 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2027 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Leading museums by highest attendance worldwide 2019-2022
Most visited museums worldwide from 2019 to 2022 (in millions)
Most visited amusement and theme parks worldwide 2019-2022
Leading amusement and theme parks worldwide from 2019 to 2022, by attendance (in millions)
Monuments on the UNESCO world heritage list 2023, by type
Number of monuments on the UNESCO world heritage list as of September 2023, by type
Selected countries with the most Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide 2023
Number of Michelin-starred restaurants in selected countries and territories worldwide as of July 2023
Online travel market
- Premium Statistic Online travel market size worldwide 2020-2030
- Premium Statistic Estimated revenue of leading OTAs worldwide 2022, by device
- Premium Statistic Most downloaded online travel agency apps worldwide 2022, by aggregated downloads
- Basic Statistic Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022, by market cap
- Premium Statistic Leading online travel companies worldwide 2020-2022, by revenue CAGR
- Premium Statistic Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022-2023, by EV/EBITDA
Online travel market size worldwide 2020-2030
Online travel market size worldwide from 2020 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2030 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Estimated revenue of leading OTAs worldwide 2022, by device
Estimated desktop vs. mobile revenue of leading online travel agencies (OTAs) worldwide in 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Most downloaded online travel agency apps worldwide 2022, by aggregated downloads
Most downloaded online travel agency apps worldwide in 2022, by aggregated number of downloads (in millions)
Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022, by market cap
Market cap of leading online travel companies worldwide as of December 2022 (in million U.S. dollars)
Leading online travel companies worldwide 2020-2022, by revenue CAGR
Revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of leading online travel companies worldwide from 2020 to 2022
Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022-2023, by EV/EBITDA
Enterprise-value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) of selected leading online travel companies worldwide in 2022, with a forecast for 2023
- Premium Statistic Global travelers who believe in the importance of green travel 2022
- Premium Statistic Sustainable initiatives travelers would adopt worldwide 2022, by region
- Premium Statistic Airbnb revenue worldwide 2017-2022
- Premium Statistic Airbnb nights and experiences booked worldwide 2017-2022
- Premium Statistic Technologies global hotels plan to implement in the next three years 2022
- Premium Statistic Hotel technologies global consumers think would improve their future stay 2022
Global travelers who believe in the importance of green travel 2022
Share of travelers that believe sustainable travel is important worldwide in 2022
Sustainable initiatives travelers would adopt worldwide 2022, by region
Main sustainable initiatives travelers are willing to adopt worldwide in 2022, by region
Airbnb revenue worldwide 2017-2022
Revenue of Airbnb worldwide from 2017 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Airbnb nights and experiences booked worldwide 2017-2022
Nights and experiences booked with Airbnb from 2017 to 2022 (in millions)
Technologies global hotels plan to implement in the next three years 2022
Technologies hotels are most likely to implement in the next three years worldwide as of 2022
Hotel technologies global consumers think would improve their future stay 2022
Must-have hotel technologies to create a more amazing stay in the future among travelers worldwide as of 2022
- Premium Statistic Travel and tourism revenue worldwide 2018-2027, by segment
- Premium Statistic Distribution of sales channels in the travel and tourism market worldwide 2017-2027
- Premium Statistic Inbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
- Premium Statistic Outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
Travel and tourism revenue worldwide 2018-2027, by segment
Revenue of the global travel and tourism market from 2018 to 2027, by segment (in billion U.S. dollars)
Distribution of sales channels in the travel and tourism market worldwide 2017-2027
Revenue share of sales channels of the travel and tourism market worldwide from 2017 to 2027
Inbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
Inbound tourism visitor growth worldwide in 2020, with a forecast until 2024, by region
Outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
Outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide in 2020, with a forecast until 2024, by region
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- Understanding Poverty
Tourism and Competitiveness
The tourism sector provides opportunities for developing countries to create productive and inclusive jobs, grow innovative firms, finance the conservation of natural and cultural assets, and increase economic empowerment, especially for women, who comprise the majority of the tourism sector’s workforce. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism was the world’s largest service sector—providing one in ten jobs worldwide, almost seven percent of all international trade and 25 percent of the world’s service exports —a critical foreign exchange generator. In 2019 the sector was valued at more than US$9 trillion and accounted for 10.4 percent of global GDP.
Tourism offers opportunities for economic diversification and market-creation. When effectively managed, its deep local value chains can expand demand for existing and new products and services that directly and positively impact the poor and rural/isolated communities. The sector can also be a force for biodiversity conservation, heritage protection, and climate-friendly livelihoods, making up a key pillar of the blue/green economy. This potential is also associated with social and environmental risks, which need to be managed and mitigated to maximize the sector’s net-positive benefits.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for tourism service providers, with a loss of 20 percent of all tourism jobs (62 million), and US$1.3 trillion in export revenue, leading to a reduction of 50 percent of its contribution to GDP in 2020 alone. The collapse of demand has severely impacted the livelihoods of tourism-dependent communities, small businesses and women-run enterprises. It has also reduced government tax revenues and constrained the availability of resources for destination management and site conservation.
Naturalist local guide with group of tourist in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve Ecuador. Photo: Ammit Jack/Shutterstock
Tourism and Competitiveness Strategic Pillars
Our solutions are integrated across the following areas:
- Competitive and Productive Tourism Markets. We work with government and private sector stakeholders to foster competitive tourism markets that create productive jobs, improve visitor expenditure and impact, and are supportive of high-growth, innovative firms. To do so we offer guidance on firm and destination level recovery, policy and regulatory reforms, demand diversification, investment promotion and market access.
- Blue, Green and Resilient Tourism Economies. We support economic diversification to sustain natural capital and tourism assets, prepare for external and climate-related shocks, and be sustainably managed through strong policy, coordination, and governance improvements. To do so we offer support to align the tourism enabling and policy environment towards sustainability, while improving tourism destination and site planning, development, and management. We work with governments to enhance the sector’s resilience and to foster the development of innovative sustainable financing instruments.
- Inclusive Value Chains. We work with client governments and intermediaries to support Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), and strengthen value chains that provide equitable livelihoods for communities, women, youth, minorities, and local businesses.
The successful design and implementation of reforms in the tourism space requires the combined effort of diverse line ministries and agencies, and an understanding of the impact of digital technologies in the industry. Accordingly, our teams support cross-cutting issues of tourism governance and coordination, digital innovation and the use and application of data throughout the three focus areas of work.
Tourism and Competitiveness Theory of Change
Examples of our projects:
- In Indonesia , a US$955m loan is supporting the Government’s Integrated Infrastructure Development for National Tourism Strategic Areas Project. This project is designed to improve the quality of, and access to, tourism-relevant basic infrastructure and services, strengthen local economy linkages to tourism, and attract private investment in selected tourism destinations. In its initial phases, the project has supported detailed market and demand analyses needed to justify significant public investment, mobilized integrated tourism destination masterplans for each new destination and established essential coordination mechanisms at the national level and at all seventeen of the Project’s participating districts and cities.
- In Madagascar , a series of projects totaling US$450m in lending and IFC Technical Assistance have contributed to the sustainable growth of the tourism sector by enhancing access to enabling infrastructure and services in target regions. Activities under the project focused on providing support to SMEs, capacity building to institutions, and promoting investment and enabling environment reforms. They resulted in the creation of more than 10,000 jobs and the registration of more than 30,000 businesses. As a result of COVID-19, the project provided emergency support both to government institutions (i.e., Ministry of Tourism) and other organizations such as the National Tourism Promotion Board to plan, strategize and implement initiatives to address effects of the pandemic and support the sector’s gradual relaunch, as well as to directly support tourism companies and workers groups most affected by the crisis.
- In Sierra Leone , an Economic Diversification Project has a strong focus on sustainable tourism development. The project is contributing significantly to the COVID-19 recovery, with its focus on the creation of six new tourism destinations, attracting new private investment, and building the capacity of government ministries to successfully manage and market their tourism assets. This project aims to contribute to the development of more circular economy tourism business models, and support the growth of women- run tourism businesses.
- Through the Rebuilding Tourism Competitiveness: Tourism Response, Recovery and Resilience to the COVID-19 Crisis initiative and the Tourism for Development Learning Series , we held webinars, published insights and guidance notes as well as formed new partnerships with Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, United Nations Environment Program, United Nations World Tourism Organization, and World Travel and Tourism Council to exchange knowledge on managing tourism throughout the pandemic, planning for recovery and building back better. The initiative’s key Policy Note has been downloaded more than 20,000 times and has been used to inform recovery initiatives in over 30 countries across 6 regions.
- The Global Aviation Dashboard is a platform that visualizes real-time changes in global flight movements, allowing users to generate 2D & 3D visualizations, charts, graphs, and tables; and ranking animations for: flight volume, seat volume, and available seat kilometers. Data is available for domestic, intra-regional, and inter-regional routes across all regions, countries, airports, and airlines on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis from January 2020 until today. The dashboard has been used to track the status and recovery of global travel and inform policy and operational actions.
Traditional Samburu women in Kenya. Photo: hecke61/Shutterstock.
We-Fi WeTour Women in Tourism Enterprise Surveys (2019)
- Sierra Leone | Ghana
- Destination Management Handbook: A Guide to the Planning and Implementation of Destination Management (2023)
- Blue Tourism in Islands and Small Tourism-Dependent Coastal States : Tools and Recovery Strategies (2022)
- Resilient Tourism: Competitiveness in the Face of Disasters (2020)
- Tourism and the Sharing Economy: Policy and Potential of Sustainable Peer-to-Peer Accommodation (2018)
- Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods through Wildlife Tourism (2018)
- The Voice of Travelers: Leveraging User-Generated Content for Tourism Development (2018)
- Women and Tourism: Designing for Inclusion (2017)
- Twenty Reasons Sustainable Tourism Counts for Development (2017)
- An introduction to tourism concessioning:14 characteristics of successful programs. The World Bank, 2016)
- Getting financed: 9 tips for community joint ventures in tourism . World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and World Bank, (2015)
- Global investment promotion best practices: Winning tourism investment” Investment Climate (2013)
- COVID-19 and Tourism in South Asia: Opportunities for Sustainable Regional Outcomes (2020)
- Demand Analysis for Tourism in African Local Communities (2018)
- Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods . Africa Development Forum (2014)
- Expecting the Unexpected : Tools and Policy Considerations to Support the Recovery and Resilience of the Tourism Sector (2022)
- Rebuilding Tourism Competitiveness. Tourism response, recovery and resilience to the COVID-19 crisis (2020)
- COVID-19 and Tourism in South Asia Opportunities for Sustainable Regional Outcomes (2020)
- WBG support for tourism clients and destinations during the COVID-19 crisis (2020)
- Tourism for Development: Tourism Diagnostic Toolkit (2019)
- Tourism Theory of Change (2018)
- COVID Impact Mitigation Survey Results (South Africa) (2020)
- COVID Preparedness for Reopening Survey Results (South Africa) (2020)
- COVID Study (Fiji) (2020) with IFC
- Fiona Stewart, Samantha Power & Shaun Mann , Harnessing the power of capital markets to conserve and restore global biodiversity through “Natural Asset Companies” | October 12 th 2021
- Mari Elka Pangestu , Tourism in the post-COVID world: Three steps to build better forward | April 30 th 2021
- Hartwig Schafer , Regional collaboration can help South Asian nations rebuild and strengthen tourism industry | July 23 rd 2020
- Caroline Freund , We can’t travel, but we can take measures to preserve jobs in the tourism industry | March 20 th 2020
- Destination Management for Resilient Growth . This webinar looks at emerging destinations at the local level to examine the opportunities, examples, and best tools available. Destination Management Handbook
- Launch of the Future of Pacific Tourism. This webinar goes through the results of the new Future of Pacific Tourism report. It was launched by FCI Regional and Global Managers with Discussants from the Asian Development Bank and Intrepid Group.
- Circular Economy and Tourism . This webinar discusses how new and circular business models are needed to change the way tourism operates and enable businesses and destinations to be sustainable.
- Closing the Gap: Gender in Projects and Analytics . The purpose of this webinar is to raise awareness on integrating gender considerations into projects and provide guidelines for future project design in various sectoral areas.
- WTO Tourism Resilience: Building forward Better. High-level panelists from Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Jordan and Kenya discuss how donors, governments and the private sector can work together most effectively to rebuild the tourism industry and improve its resilience for the future.
- Tourism Watch
- [email protected]
Launch of Blue Tourism Resource Portal
By Bastian Herre, Veronika Samborska and Max Roser
Tourism has massively increased in recent decades. Aviation has opened up travel from domestic to international. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of international visits had more than doubled since 2000.
Tourism can be important for both the travelers and the people in the countries they visit.
For visitors, traveling can increase their understanding of and appreciation for people in other countries and their cultures.
And in many countries, many people rely on tourism for their income. In some, it is one of the largest industries.
But tourism also has externalities: it contributes to global carbon emissions and can encroach on local environments and cultures.
On this page, you can find data and visualizations on the history and current state of tourism across the world.
Interactive Charts on Tourism
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International tourism, number of arrivals - Country Ranking
Definition: International inbound tourists (overnight visitors) are the number of tourists who travel to a country other than that in which they have their usual residence, but outside their usual environment, for a period not exceeding 12 months and whose main purpose in visiting is other than an activity remunerated from within the country visited. When data on number of tourists are not available, the number of visitors, which includes tourists, same-day visitors, cruise passengers, and crew members, is shown instead. Sources and collection methods for arrivals differ across countries. In some cases data are from border statistics (police, immigration, and the like) and supplemented by border surveys. In other cases data are from tourism accommodation establishments. For some countries number of arrivals is limited to arrivals by air and for others to arrivals staying in hotels. Some countries include arrivals of nationals residing abroad while others do not. Caution should thus be used in comparing arrivals across countries. The data on inbound tourists refer to the number of arrivals, not to the number of people traveling. Thus a person who makes several trips to a country during a given period is counted each time as a new arrival.
Source: World Tourism Organization, Yearbook of Tourism Statistics, Compendium of Tourism Statistics and data files.
See also: Thematic map , Time series comparison
More rankings: Africa | Asia | Central America & the Caribbean | Europe | Middle East | North America | Oceania | South America | World |
Development Relevance: Tourism is officially recognized as a directly measurable activity, enabling more accurate analysis and more effective policy. Whereas previously the sector relied mostly on approximations from related areas of measurement (e.g. Balance of Payments statistics), tourism today possesses a range of instruments to track its productive activities and the activities of the consumers that drive them: visitors (both tourists and excursionists). An increasing number of countries have opened up and invested in tourism development, making tourism a key driver of socio-economic progress through export revenues, the creation of jobs and enterprises, and infrastructure development. As an internationally traded service, inbound tourism has become one of the world's major trade categories. For many developing countries it is one of the main sources of foreign exchange income and a major component of exports, creating much needed employment and development opportunities.
Limitations and Exceptions: Tourism can be either domestic or international. The data refers to international tourism, where the traveler's country of residence differs from the visiting country. International tourism consists of inbound (arrival) and outbound (departures) tourism. The data are from the World Tourism Organization (WTO), a United Nations agency. The data on inbound and outbound tourists refer to the number of arrivals and departures, not to the number of people traveling. Thus a person who makes several trips to a country during a given period is counted each time as a new arrival. The data on inbound tourism show the arrivals of nonresident tourists (overnight visitors) at national borders. When data on international tourists are unavailable or incomplete, the data show the arrivals of international visitors, which include tourists, same-day visitors, cruise passengers, and crew members. Sources and collection methods for arrivals differ across countries. In some cases data are from border statistics (police, immigration, and the like) and supplemented by border surveys. In other cases data are from tourism accommodation establishments. For some countries number of arrivals is limited to arrivals by air and for others to arrivals staying in hotels. Some countries include arrivals of nationals residing abroad while others do not. Caution should thus be used in comparing arrivals across countries.
Statistical Concept and Methodology: Statistical information on tourism is based mainly on data on arrivals and overnight stays along with balance of payments information. These data do not completely capture the economic phenomenon of tourism or provide the information needed for effective public policies and efficient business operations. Data are needed on the scale and significance of tourism. Information on the role of tourism in national economies is particularly deficient. Although the World Tourism Organization reports progress in harmonizing definitions and measurement, differences in national practices still prevent full comparability. Arrivals data measure the flows of international visitors to the country of reference: each arrival corresponds to one in inbound tourism trip. If a person visits several countries during the course of a single trip, his/her arrival in each country is recorded separately. In an accounting period, arrivals are not necessarily equal to the number of persons travelling (when a person visits the same country several times a year, each trip by the same person is counted as a separate arrival). Arrivals data should correspond to inbound visitors by including both tourists and same-day non-resident visitors. All other types of travelers (such as border, seasonal and other short-term workers, long-term students and others) should be excluded as they do not qualify as visitors. Data are obtained from different sources: administrative records (immigration, traffic counts, and other possible types of controls), border surveys or a mix of them. If data are obtained from accommodation surveys, the number of guests is used as estimate of arrival figures; consequently, in this case, breakdowns by regions, main purpose of the trip, modes of transport used or forms of organization of the trip are based on complementary visitor surveys.
Aggregation method: Gap-filled total
Note: This page was last updated on December 28, 2019
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World Tourism Rankings by Country 2023
Published by on, world tourism rankings 2023, international arrivals per year.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that internationally there were just 25 million tourist arrivals in 1950. 68 years later this number has increased to 1.4 billion international arrivals per year.
Every country on Earth has something to offer international visitors, from the pyramids in Egypt to the rain forests of Brazil or the sidewalk cafes of Paris but which countries attract the most visitors of all? Most of the countries with the highest tourism rates are located in Europe, whose rich history, architecture, and cultural influence make it an appealing destination for many travelers. Countries positioned on or near a body of water are also very popular, particularly those that offer a relaxed, low-key atmosphere mixed with beautiful beaches and ocean views.
According to the World Tourism Organization’s yearly highlights report, there was a growth of 7% in international tourist arrivals in the last 10 years. Europe makes up 51% of the 1,326 million figure, followed by Asia and the Pacific at 24%. Economic gain through tourism peaked at US$ 1,340 billion, divided up between Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and Americas.
While tourism has picked up slightly in 2021, they still fall far short of the pre-pandemic numbers. Late 2020 projections were hopeful that the industry would be back on track by late 2021, but the ongoing nature of the pandemic has thwarted that optimism. As of late 2021, most estimates do not expect the industry to rebound to 2019 (pre-COVID) levels until sometime in 2023 at the earliest.
Top 10 Most visited Country in the World
- France – 90.0 million
- Spain – 83.7 million
- United States – 79.3 million
- China – 65.7 million
- Italy – 64.5 million
- Turkey – 51.2 million
- Mexico – 45.0 million
- Thailand – 39.8 million
- Germany – 39.6 million
- United Kingdom – 39.4 million
The most popular tourist destination in the world for more than 30 years, France offers a myriad of attractions: the Eiffel tower, countless world-class restaurants, the Musée du Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Notre-Dame cathedral, the beaches of the Côte d’Azur, and of course, Disneyland Paris. Moreover, the lushly beautiful countryside is full of storybook villages, mountains, vineyards, and the occasional castle. One can even view prehistoric cave paintings in Lascaux. Paris, France’s capital, is the most visited city in Europe, receiving 38 million tourists in 2019.
Spain is another tourist destination overflowing with interesting attractions. Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral and other works in Barcelona, the Guggenheim museum, the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Europe’s largest aquarium (the lily-shaped L’Oceanogràfic), the beaches of Gran Canaria, and La Rambla in Barcelona. Spain is also home to El Teide, an ancient—but not entirely dormant—volcano, which visitors can hike around at the Parque Nacional del Teide on the Spanish island Tenerife.
- UNWTO Tourism Data Dashboard – United Nations World Tourism Organization
- World Tourism Barometer – United Nations World Tourism Organization
- Trending in Travel – World Travel & Tourism Council
- Economic Impact Reports – World Travel & Tourism Council
Daily News Worldwide (English)
World Tourism Market 43rd edition launchpad to market Sri Lanka
Posted: November 8, 2023 | Last updated: November 8, 2023
The participation of 76 companies from Sri Lanka at the 43rd edition of the World Tourism Market is an all-time record for Sri Lanka said, Manager Marketing Dushan Wickramasuriya.
He said that this shows the enthusiasm for tourism from Sri Lankan companies.
They also know that UK is an important market for tourism in Sri Lanka as UK arrivals are currently number three accounting to 10% of the total arrivals.
He also said that since all Europeans participating at this event is also a launchpad to market Sri Lanka to them.
Meanwhile, special guest Duchess of Rutland Emma Manners at the opening ceremony stated that Sri Lanka is a preferred destination for her. We have also observed that the country’s smiling people are a great asset to tourism and Sri Lanka is also a very safe place to travel now. The three day annual WTM event ends today.
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Thailand drops joint patrols with Chinese police after public backlash
Helen Yi, a tourist from Taiwan, looks at candles placed outside the luxury Siam Paragon shopping mall where Thai police arrested a teenage gunman who is suspected of killing foreigners and wounding other people in a shooting, in Bangkok, Thailand, October 4, 2023. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights
BANGKOK, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Thailand rolled back on Tuesday plans of joint patrols with Chinese police in popular tourist spots after public backlash.
Tourism officials on Sunday floated the idea of having Chinese and Thai police patrol much-visited areas to build confidence among tourists, including Chinese nationals.
The plan, however, sparked uproar online, drawing criticism that it compromised national sovereignty, and a rebuke from the country's police chief.
"There are many alternative ways to build confidence for tourists in Thailand ... but we will not have joint patrols," Tourism Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol told reporters on Tuesday.
"The Thai police force is already adequate and are working hard to restore confidence," Sudawan said.
Thai authorities have rushed to tighten security after last month's shooting spree at a luxury mall in Bangkok in which two people, including one Chinese national, were killed, fanned safety concerns.
Restoring confidence is critical for Thailand's tourism industry, especially among Chinese visitors.
They accounted for 11 million out of record 39.9 million foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand in 2019, but their return after the COVID-19 pandemic has been sluggish , prompting the government in September to waive visa requirements for Chinese nationals.
So far this year, Thailand has welcomed 23.2 million foreign arrivals.
Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, Editing by Tomasz Janowski
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION
Global and regional tourism performance
- international tourist arrivals and receipts and export revenues
- international tourism expenditure and departures
- Tourism Flows
- Tourism GDP and Employment
- Domestic Tourism
The UNWTO Tourism Data Dashboard – provides statistics and insights on key indicators for inbound and outbound tourism at the global, regional and national levels. Data covers tourist arrivals, tourism receipts, tourism share of exports and contribution to GDP, source markets, seasonality, domestic tourism and data on accommodation and employment.