A recent study from Get Going Travel Insurance offers a wide-ranging look at global tourism, posing and answering a number of interesting questions.
According to the study, global annual expenditure on tourism is approximately US$1.5 trillion, driven by increasingly cheap air travel and the eager inhabitants of emerging economies seeking adventure. China was found to be the top travelling nation, with an estimated tourism spend of nearly one-quarter of a trillion dollars, bigger than the US (second in the list) and Germany combined. The US, meanwhile, has reportedly increased its annual expenditure on tourism by nine per cent, reaching $135 billion (not an insignificant figure, considering that less than 50 per cent of US citizens own a passport).
Germany was the third biggest spender, having spent just under $90 billion in 2018, followed closely by the UK, whose tourism spend rose to $71 billion.
The study then looked into where citizens of major outbound source markets like to travel. US travellers seem to favour their immediate neighbours Mexico (with around 35.1 million Americans travelling their every year) and Canada (14.3 million), although the UK and France were popular destinations too, with a combined five million heading to these countries annually. UK citizens, meanwhile, favour Spain (15.9 million annual visitors) and France (8.86 million).
Interestingly, Get Going’s study found that the size of a country is not necessarily a good indicator of how many tourists it attracts. Andorra, for example, is a land-locked principality between France and Spain that nevertheless enjoyed three million tourist arrivals in 2018 – a tourist to resident ratio of 1:39. Macao, south of China, was another unlikely star, attracting 17 million people last year, despite having a population of only 630,000. The North Mariana Islands, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands were also found to be punching well above their weight, with tourist to resident ratios of 1:12, 1:12 and 1:11 respectively.
“Travel around the world seems easier than it ever has been,” said Josh Hancock, a spokesperson for Get Going, “and more and more nations seem to be holidaying further afield than in years gone by. The research is a good way to look at where money is being spent and who is benefitting from it.”
So, let’s not stop getting going!