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Map: The World’s Top Countries for Tourism

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Map: The World's Top Countries for Tourism

Map: The World’s Top Countries for Tourism

Where do the world’s international tourist dollars get spent?

Today’s map from HowMuch.net resizes countries around the world based on international tourist receipts in 2017, using data from the World Tourism Organization.

Top International Destinations

Here are the world’s top countries for tourism, based on total money spent:

RankCountryInternational VisitorsDollars Spent
#1United States74.7 million$210.7B
#2Spain81.8 million$68.0B
#3France86.9 million$60.7B
#4Thailand35.4 million$57.5B
#5United Kingdom37.6 million$51.2B
#6Italy58.3 million$44.2B
#7Australia8.9 million$41.7B
#8Germany37.5 million$39.8B
#9Macao (China)17.3 million$35.6B
#10Japan28.7 million$34.1B
#11Hong Kong (China)27.9 million$33.3B
#12China60.7 million$32.6B
#13India15.5 million$27.4B
#14Turkey37.6 million$22.5B
#15Mexico39.3 million$21.3B

Data based on international tourism; doesn’t include intercountry tourism (i.e. family trip from Seattle to Hawaii)

Coming into the top spot is the United States with $210.7 billion spent by 74.7 million tourists, or roughly $2,819 per person in 2017. The country boasts attractions like the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, the Statue of Liberty, beaches in Hawaii or California, or Yellowstone National Park, with the highest rated U.S. attraction being Central Park in New York City.

Next up, Europe has a pretty impressive presence. Spain ($68B) and France ($61B) come in at #2 and #3 respectively, and also countries like the United Kingdom ($51B), Italy ($44B), and Germany ($40B) end up rounding out the top eight spots.

Macao surpasses Hong Kong and mainland China as a top destination for tourist dollars, while Australia makes the top 10 despite only having 9 million visitors in 2017.

Dollars Per Visitor

If we take international tourist receipts and divide it by the number of visitors for each country, we also see another interesting measure: dollars spent per visitor.

A country like Australia is not only massive – but it’s also quite remote for many visitors, meaning that tourists get their fill on their trips. Tourists to a destination like Australia are rarely popping in for an overnighter, and are more likely to spend extended periods of time on vacation.

RankCountryInternational VisitorsDollars Spent$/Visitor
#1Australia8.8 million$41.7B$4,734
#2Luxembourg1.0 million$4.5B$4,322
#3Lebanon1.9 million$7.6B$4,099
#4New Zealand3.6 million$10.3B$2,893
#5United States74.7 million$210.7B$2,819
#6Qatar2.3 million$6.0 B$2,647
#7Panama1.8 million$4.5B$2,416
#8Macao (China)17.3 million$35.6B$2,062
#9Sweden6.9 million$14.1B$2,060
#10Israel3.6 million$6.8B$1,888

Topping this list are places that are hard to reach for many visitors (New Zealand or Israel, for example), as well as more expensive destinations (Luxembourg).

Macao, the gambling capital of the world, also makes the list – with many of those dollars likely being spent on games like roulette, blackjack, sic bo, and fan-tan.

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History

Mapping the Spread of Words Along Trade Routes

When goods traveled to new regions, their native names sometimes hitchhiked along with them. This map shows the spread of loanwords around the world.

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Mapping the Spread of Words Along Trade Routes

In the early history of international trade, when exotic goods traveled to new regions, their native names sometimes hitchhiked along with them.

Naturally, the Germans have a term – Wanderwörter – for these extraordinary loanwords that journey around the globe, mutating subtly along the way.

Today’s map, produced by Haisam Hussein for Lapham’s Quarterly, charts the flow of Wanderwörter along global trade routes.

Tea

China’s export dominance over tea influenced how people around the world refer to their steeped beverages.

The spread of tea along the Silk Road from Mandarin-speaking Northern China resulted in much of Asia and Africa having similar sounding words for tea. Chá evolved into the chai widely consumed in India and surrounding areas today.

Tea’s other major trade route, through Min-speaking Southern China, spread the pronunciation that became the standard around Europe. This is why we see such striking similarities between thé (French), thee (Dutch), tee (German), (Spanish), and (Italian).

Tomatoes

Sometimes, a word’s journey isn’t completely linear.

In the case of tomatoes, the Italians’ decision to dub the red fruit pomodoro, or golden apple, led to a linguistic fork in the road. This is the reason the English name for tomatoes is still similar to the Aztec term tomatl, but in Russian, pomidor can be traced back to Italian.

Cotton

Many people in North America would be surprised to learn that “cotton” is a direct link to the Arabic word al-qutn.

Coca

When the Spanish brought coca from South America and spread it into the global market, its easy-to-pronounce name tagged along for the entire journey. Though its spelling may differ across cultures, say the word “coca” in many countries and people will likely know what you’re referring to.

A Small World After All

Most of us are vaguely aware that parts of our langauge consist of loanwords from other regions and cultures, but seeing the spread of language in map form is a powerful reminder that the globalization as we know it is a continuation of centuries of commercial and cultural exchange.

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Chart of the Week

Visualizing Africa’s Free Trade Ambitions

The Gambia recently became the latest country to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), helping the landmark agreement reach critical mass to move forward.

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africa free trade

Visualizing Africa’s Free Trade Ambitions

A united African continent working towards common goals would be a major force on the global economic stage.

To this end, nations in the region have been working towards an ambitious plan to create the world’s largest trade area. The Gambia recently became the latest country to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), helping the agreement reach critical mass to move forward.

Today’s graphic helps put the region – and the status of AfCFTA – into perspective.

The Patchwork Problem

One key to unlocking the region’s economic potential is making it easier for Africa’s 55 countries to trade with one another.

Currently, Africa is a patchwork of regulations and tariffs, and trade between countries has suffered as a result. For example, only 10% of Nigeria’s annual trade activity is with other African countries. This is a surprising given the country’s dominant economic standing and location firmly in the center of the continent.

As a whole, Africa’s intra-continental trade level hovers at just around 20%, while nations in Europe and Asia are at 69% and 59%, respectively. Clearly, there is a lot of room for growth.

What is AfCFTA?

AfCFTA is the biggest free trade agreement since the establishment of the World Trade Organization.

The objective of the agreement is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investments.

Last year, 44 African leaders signed an agreement to ratify AfCFTA, with half that number needed to move the agreement forward. Earlier this week, The Gambia was the 22nd country to announce that its government has ratified the agreement, meeting the threshold to officially put the wheels in motion.

We have witnessed a historic moment for the African Continent. AfCFTA is now set to become operational within
the month, creating a single continental market for goods
and services.

– Mark-Anthony Johnson, CEO, JIC Holdings

The good news for the agreement is that many of Africa’s largest economies – including Egypt and South Africa – are already on board. There is, however, one significant holdout.

The Elephant in the Room

Even though the threshold for pushing AfCFTA forward has been reached, Nigeria’s lack of commitment is still a major blow to the strength and credibility of the agreement.

Nigeria’s situation is complicated. The country’s economic prospects are bright, and Lagos is on a trajectory to become the world’s largest city over the next few decades. On the other hand, there is fierce opposition from labor unions, and the country is home to largest concentration of people living in extreme poverty in the world.

[AfCFTA is] an extremely dangerous and radioactive
neo-liberal policy initiative.

– Ayuba Wabba, President of NLC, Nigeria’s largest labor union

While the majority of African nations appear to be on board with the plan to enact AfCFTA, it remains to be seen whether Nigeria comes along for the ride or decides to go it alone.

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