In most cities and top tourist destinations areas have emerged selling variety of wares to tourists.
A boom in tourism can change the fate of local populations.
Chinese travellers spent a record $165 billion USD abroad in 2014 – an exceptional 27% increase over 2013 ($36 billion USD). Second are US travellers who spent a total of $111 billion USD abroad in 2014.
Which countries benefit the most from tourist spending?
Every year the UN World Tourism Organisation publishes a report titled “Tourism Highlights“. For this post I used the 2015 version (data reported is for 2013). The report contains tourism statistics for 217 countries, including inbound tourist arrivals and receipts.
In 2013 Gallup posted data on median incomes for countries which I used to compare against tourism receipts.
Similarly, the World Bank publishes yearly data on GDP by country (I used data from 2014).
Receipts total per tourist
Some countries, as expected, make very little per tourist. Take the Democratic Republic of Congo which earns on average $5.24 USD per international tourist. Others, strangely, make a very large amount per tourist. International tourists in Belarus, using UNWTO figures, spend over $5,700 USD each during their trip!
Did you know? The countries that earn the most per international tourist are: 1. Belarus ($5,773 USD), 2. Luxembourg ($5,131 USD), 3. Australia ($4,897 USD).
Did you know? The countries that earn the least per international tourist are: 168. Lesotho ($121.88 USD), 169. Swaziland ($13.43 USD), 170. Democratic Republic of Congo ($5.24 USD).
Did you know? The countries with the highest median salaries per capita are: 1. Norway ($19,308 USD), 2. Sweden ($18,632 USD), 3. Luxembourg ($18,418 USD).
Did you know? The countries with the lowest median salaries per capita are: 128. Mali ($165 USD), 129. Burundi ($129 USD), 130. Liberia ($118 USD).
Income vs. tourist receipts
Most countries (83) have higher median salaries compared to the average a tourist would spend in the country, unsurprisingly. However, in 31 countries receipts per tourist actually exceed median incomes. In 7 of these 31 countries receipts per tourist exceed median income per capita by over $1,000 USD, and 2 by over $2,000 USD (India and Madagascar).
|rank||Destination||Revenue p/tourist (USD)||Median Income p/Capita (USD)||Median Income – Tourist revenue (USD)||Per Tourist Revenue as % of Median Income|
Madagascar receives a staggering 1428.57% more from tourists than the median income of its residents — in dollar terms a difference of $2,732.57 USD.
Did you know? The countries with the highest GDP per capita are: 1. Luxembourg ($113,727 USD), 2. Norway ($102,832 USD), 3. Qatar ($96,077 USD)
Did you know? The countries with the lowest GDP per capita are: 185. Central African Republic ($326 USD), 186. Burundi ($259 USD), 187. Malawi ($240 USD).
GDP vs. tourist receipts
As with income, most countries have a positive difference between GDP per capita and income per tourist. However, 10 countries have a negative difference — that is, tourists spend more than the countries GDP per capita.
|rank||Destination||Revenue p/tourist (USD)||GDP p/Capita (USD)||GDP – Tourist revenue (USD)||Per tourist Revenue as % of GDP|
These are the 10 countries that receive more per tourist than their GDP per capita. Comparing tourism revenue as a percentage of GDP per capita Madagascar comes out with a difference of 632.56%!
I realise that using median income against tourism receipts is not a truly representative metric. Many countries have significant poverty and large gaps between incomes, all of which would be hugely beneficial context to add into the comparison.
In 2013, Madagascar welcomed 198,000 tourists who spent on average $2,928.57 USD each. That’s 633% more than their GDP per capita and 1429% more than the median income of their residents.