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Charted: Global Tourism Rebounds to Pre-Pandemic Levels

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A time series chart showing the number of foreign visitors across regions, indexed to December 2019 levels, indicating global tourism has rebounded.

Charted: Global Tourism Rebounds to 2019 Levels

Love them or hate them, tourists are back.

Global tourism has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels according to data sourced from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Report (2023)

We visualize monthly arrivals of foreign visitors to various regions, indexed to December 2019 levels.

Europe Leads as Destination for Resurging Tourism

Having been the first industry to suffer almost immediately from COVID-19 required lockdowns and border closures, global tourism has been on a steady recovery in the last year and a half.

In fact, Europe was the first region to get back to pre-pandemic levels in April–May 2022, with the U.S. nearly approaching the mark in July that same year.

In the tables below we showcase the relative scale of monthly arrivals of foreign visitors to various regions, indexed to Dec 2019 levels. Figures below 100 mean there were fewer foreign arrivals than December 2019, and vice-versa.

Year/MonthSouthern EuropeRest of EuropeU.S.
Dec 201572.482.2111.1
Dec 201680.587.0107.9
Dec 201782.792.6108.8
Dec 201891.896.0100.6
Dec 2019100.0100.0100.0
Dec 202026.413.715.9
Dec 202173.650.146.9
Dec 202295.297.168.1
April 2023117.2121.897.8

Latin America also hit pre-pandemic levels of tourists in June 2022 and then again in April 2023.

One major exception to the recovery is Asia (excluding China), which was at 90.8% of 2019 levels as of April 2023. As it happens, the lack of Chinese tourists—due to China’s prolonged period of COVID-19 lockdowns—are likely a major factor for Asia’s slower tourism recovery.

Year/MonthLatin America &
the Caribbean
Asia (ex-China)Rest of World
Dec 201582.998.1101.7
Dec 201692.1103.3105.5
Dec 201797.4108.1104.5
Dec 201897.1115.0102.7
Dec 2019100.0100.0100.0
Dec 202049.3-0.48.1
Dec 202176.92.221.0
Dec 202290.349.264.4
April 2023102.590.886.6

Rising Chinese income levels has made the country the world’s largest source of tourists. For example, in 2019 (pre-COVID), China ranked first in terms of outbound tourism spending, at $255 billion.

Airlines Passenger Share Mirrors Tourism Trends

Consequently, the airline industry of these regions has also seen correlating gains and losses in traffic. European airlines had the highest share of passenger traffic, followed by the U.S. in 2022. At the same time all four of China’s largest airlines saw a fall in traffic.

Meanwhile the outlook on the Chinese economy (second largest in the world) remains uncertain at best, which is casting a pall on global growth prospects for the next year.

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Maps

Ranked: The 10 Most Visited Countries in 2023

At the top of the list, France received 100 million visitors last year.

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This graphic depicts the most visited countries in 2023, based on the total number of foreigners entering each country.

Ranked: The 10 Most Visited Countries in 2023

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The development of commercial aviation over the last few decades has made much of the world accessible to many. In 2023 alone, global inbound tourist arrivals reached 1.3 billion.

This graphic depicts the most visited countries in 2023, based on the total number of foreigners entering each country. The data is from to The World Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) and the National Immigration Administration of China.

Europe is the Top Destination

Europe is the most sought-after destination, drawing the most international visitors worldwide. Seven of the top 10 destinations are in the region.

At the top of the list, France received 100 million visitors last year. The country is expected to repeat the number in 2024, influenced mainly by the 2024 Paris Olympics taking place in July and August.

RankCountryRegionTourists (millions)
1🇫🇷 FranceEurope100
2🇪🇸 SpainEurope85
3🇺🇸 United StatesNorth America67
4🇮🇹 ItalyEurope57
5🇹🇷 TürkiyeEurope/Asia55
6🇲🇽 MexicoNorth America42
7🇬🇧 United KingdomEurope37
8🇨🇳 ChinaAsia36
9🇩🇪 GermanyEurope35
10🇬🇷 GreeceEurope33

Spain followed France with 85 million visits in 2023, and the United States came in third place with 67 million tourists arriving in that year.

China has been among the top destinations for years, but the number of visitors has dropped drastically in recent years due to COVID-19 restrictions. Foreign visitors to China dropped from 65.7 million in 2019 to only 35.5 million in 2023 after the country adopted stringent restrictions.

No African, South American, or Oceanian countries appear on our list.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Visualized: The World’s Busiest Airports, by Passenger Count. In this graphic, we use data from Airports Council International (ACI) to rank the top 10 busiest airports in the world.

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