Globalization and the growing trend of traveling have increased the number of people traveling to foreign countries each year. This growing trend has brought with it increased GDP growth due to tourism spending. While some countries receive more visitors than others, not all countries rely on their tourism industries to the same extent.
Take a look at our map below to see the countries that most rely on their tourism industry.
In the map above, each country is given one of four colors to designate the percentage of GDP taken up by the tourism industry. The countries that are colored red have a tourism industry that constitutes more than 7% of overall GDP. Light red (pink) countries have a tourism industry that makes up between 5% and 7% of overall GDP. The tourism industry in countries colored light blue occupy between 2% and 5% of the economy. Finally, countries that are solid blue have a tourism industry that is less than 2% of overall GDP. The chart also shows the overall size of each tourism industry by country. The data were collected from The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 by the World Economic Forum.
Top Ten Countries with the Largest Tourism Industries (GDP)
1. United States ($488 billion)
2. China ($224 billion)
3. Germany ($130.8 billion)
4. Japan ($106.7 billion)
5. United Kingdom ($103.7 billion)
6. France ($89.2 billion)
7. Mexico ($79.7 billion)
8. Italy ($76.3 billion)
9. Spain ($68.8 billion)
10. Brazil ($56.3 billion)
Top Five Countries Most Reliant on Tourism (GDP)
1. Malta – 15%
2. Croatia – 15%
3. Thailand – 9.3%
4. Jamaica – 8.9%
5. Iceland – 8.2%
Top Five Countries Least Reliant on Tourism (GDP)
1. Ukraine – 1.4%
2. Russian Federation – 1.5%
3. Poland – 1.7%
4. Canada – 1.8%
5. Republic of Korea – 1.8%
Most of the countries that are most reliant on their tourism industry for GDP are poor or have a relatively small population and therefore economy. Hong Kong and Iceland have a large percentage of GDP coming from tourism, but both countries are very small in both population and GDP. Hong Kong, a city-state, is a top destination for mainland Chinese due to the history of Hong Kong and the city-state’s proximity to China. Iceland is one of the smallest countries by population in the world at 332,529. It is very reliant on tourism because it receives more visitors in one year than the entire population of the country. Other countries that are heavily reliant on foreign visitors receive at least a moderate number of foreign visitors each pear but also have small GPDs.
There are only eight countries that have a tourism industry that is less than 2% of overall GDP; Ukraine, Russian Federation, Poland, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Netherlands, Taiwan and Luxembourg. Most of the countries that are highly reliant on tourism are spread mostly equally throughout the world, but Europe has the most. Another interesting trend is that the six countries with the largest tourism industries are also the six largest economies in the world, based on the most recent data; the United States, China, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and France. All six of these countries are colored light blue on the chart, meaning they are only somewhat reliant on tourism for GDP.
The chart shows that most countries that are highly reliant on tourism for GDP have either a small economy or a small population. The countries that are the least reliant on tourism are part of a wide range. The six countries with the largest tourism GDP are not very reliant on tourism spending.