How Much Money Do Tourists Spend In Each Country? by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist
There’s so much to see in this world.
From the Grand Canyon to the Ancient Pyramids of Giza, there is at least one mind-blowing attraction to discover anywhere you go. And the countries that have these great tourist attractions? They are happy to see you bring your tourist dollars into their borders.
The question is: just how many dollars are spent, and where?
Here’s the top five countries:
- The United States brings in $220.1 billion each year from tourists. The country is large and diverse – it offers the bustle of big cities like New York and San Francisco, but it’s also home to cities known for their history or culture, like New Orleans or Washington, DC. Tourists can experience the beaches of SoCal, the madness of Vegas, the serenity of Oregon, the wilderness of Alaska, or the music of Nashville.
- France is a distant second place at $66.8 billion per year. The biggest destinations include Paris, the famous wine regions of Champagne or Bordeaux, the Renaissance city of Lyon, the quayside of Marseilles, or the French Riviera capital of Nice.
- Spain isn’t far behind France, receiving $65.1 billion of tourism expenditures each year. The biggest country on the Iberian Peninsula has more to offer than trips to Ibiza and tapas in Seville. The architecture of Barcelona is magnificent, Madrid is bustling, and there are many hidden cultural gems to be found, such as Moorish monuments and castles throughout the south.
- The United Kingdom has a diverse array of treasures, and that’s why it rakes in $62.8 billion from tourism per year. Tourists can explore the scotch and Highlands of Scotland, or succumb to London calling. The countryside of Wales, the Roman-built pools of Bath, or the fried night foods of Edinburgh all have appeal. This was the home of the Beatles and Shakespeare, after all.
- China tops out Germany by $1 billion to be the fifth-most visited country in terms of tourist dollars spent, with expenditures of $56.9 billion. This is perhaps the biggest surprise on the list – people know China is emerging as the world’s biggest population center and economy, but many do not know it is also a tourist mecca. China gets millions of visitors each year from surrounding Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Mongolia. The country also receives significant traffic from Americans and Russians. The Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Three Gorges Dam, and many other sites are high on the list of things to see.
Top 5 Countries by Outbound Tourism Expenditure
- China: $164.9B
- United States: $145.7B
- Germany: $106.6B
- United Kingdom: $79.9B
- France: $59.4B
Unsurprisingly, wealthier countries enjoy higher expenditures, both outbound and inbound. This is simply because the citizens of these countries have more money to spend on travel. It’s also because wealthier countries usually invest in tourist attractions. With China’s recent economic rise, its citizens now have more money and a larger middle class. Chinese people spend more on tourism to other countries than any other group at $164.9 billion in outbound expenditures a year, as of 2014. Americans come in at a close second at $145.7 billion, while Germany takes third at $106.6 billion.
For inbound tourism expenditures, the United States is far ahead of all others. People across the world spent a total of $220.1B to travel to the US and enjoy what the United States has to offer. With less than one-third of inbound expenditures compared to the US, France comes in at second place with people spending $66.8B to visit and enjoy France’s history and culture. Spain, another European country with a noble and cultured history, sits at third place with $65.1B in inbound expenditures.
Western and Asian countries enjoy the highest levels of inbound tourism expenditures by far. Out of the top 20 countries by inbound tourism expenditures, every single one of them is either in the West or in Asia (except Turkey, if you consider them Middle Eastern). This means that people from across the world spend a lot of money to visit these countries. The people who spend the most on travel (outbound tourism expenditures) are almost all from the West or Asia as well, with two exceptions. People from both Saudi Arabia and Brazil spend quite a bit on travel and are both in the top 20 for outbound tourism expenditures. Many countries that are member states of the European Union consistently make both lists. This is likely due to the Schengen Area, which allows citizens of countries in the European Union to travel freely between Eurozone countries. The wealthier the country is, the more the people of that country are likely to travel. At the same time, wealthier countries tend to receive more visitors each year and therefore more inbound expenditures from tourists. While the United States receives the most expenditures from foreign tourists than any other single nation, the Eurozone receives the greatest inbound tourism expenditures out of all regions.