Where do the world’s international tourist dollars get spent?
Today’s map 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:
Rank Country International Visitors Dollars Spent
|#1||United States||74.7 million||$210.7B|
|#5||United Kingdom||37.6 million||$51.2B|
|#9||Macao (China)||17.3 million||$35.6B|
|#11||Hong Kong (China)||27.9 million||$33.3B|
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.
Rank Country International Visitors Dollars Spent $/Visitor
|#4||New Zealand||3.6 million||$10.3B||$2,893|
|#5||United States||74.7 million||$210.7B||$2,819|
|#6||Qatar||2.3 million||$6.0 B||$2,647|
|#8||Macao (China)||17.3 million||$35.6B||$2,062|
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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