Tourism has become one of the major economic sectors of the Twenty-First Century. For some countries, such as Spain, Thailand or France, it represents a vital livelihood. At the global level, the tourism generated about $ 7.6 trillion (approximately 10% of the global GDP) and produced around 300 million jobs. Its magnitude is gigantic and the short-and long-term trend only enhances its volume: we will travel more and more places.
But which ones? That’s a good question. The distribution of the tourist Manna is very uneven, and a handful of large tourist countries are at the top of their economic volume, capitalizing on most travellers and consumers. At HowMuch they have tried to illustrate this reality by adjusting the size of each country according to the business generated by tourism over the past year. The result is a strange and disproportionate world map.
At the forefront would be the United States, the country where travelers spend the most money ($210,000 million). HowMuch has prioritized the economic amount, more useful in understanding the true impact of tourism than the number of visitors per year. In reality, the country that receives the most tourists each year is France ,but (86 million souls), but its financial impact ($60 billion) is less than the American or Spanish.
They are the three great champions of World Tourism. The distance, moreover, is sidereal, both in number of visitors and in economic terms. In the hypothetical world map imagined by HowMuch, the fourth largest country would be Thailand, followed closely by Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. China (through Macao and Hong Kong, together more valuable in tourism terms than the rest of the country) and Japan would complete the table.
They are the three who, to a greater extent, also have to deal with the unwanted consequences of tourism, at the same time a manna and subject to all sorts of controversies. In Spain, the most recent example is that of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: the obsession with Game Of Thrones has led tourists to pluck stones from the island, a protected space, and therefore to preserve. In cities like Paris, the municipal government has already proposed limiting tourist buses, synonymous with cheap and massive visits, and residents of the most Instagrammable streets have asked to veto tourists ‘ access to them. It is a global dynamic with multiple edges.
What about the rest? In Europe, only Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Switzerland have significant volumes (areas). Mexico would retain some of its geographic relevance thanks to the $ 20 billion that its tourists invest in the country each year, a figure similar to that of Canada, drastically dwarfed. In Latin America things would be very similar: small countries like Costa Rica or Puerto Rico would equal giants like Argentina or Brazil.
Africa, as almost always, goes wrong: only a handful of countries appear on the map (both by feasibility of the data and by real tourist relevance). South Africa, Egypt and Morocco ($9 billion, $8 billion and $7 billion respectively) are the most remarkable, with honors mentions for Nigeria and Tanzania. In the Middle East, buoyant countries such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia would take the palm, in addition to Lebanon and Israel.
It is in Asia that the map would be drastically redesigned. China and India, the geographic and demographic Giants who in other maps hoarded everything, here would be severely reduced ($33 billion and $27 billion), while Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore would skyrocket in size. Japan would rule, and by far, as the continental leader. South korea, Taiwan and Sri Lanka are also included by their renewed widening.