Ukraine and Russia aren’t betting you’ll visit anytime soon. Of the 136 top economies in the world, Ukraine is the one least reliant on tourism, with just 1.4% of its gross domestic product coming from visitors. Russia is close behind, with just 1.5% of its GDP coming from tourism.
Ukraine and Russia are just two of eight countries in the rankings that have a tourism industry comprising less than 2% of overall GDP. That’s according to data from The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 by the World Economic Forum, as compiled by data site HowMuch.
Russia’s economy is most reliant on oil, and it is the world’s second-largest oil exporter. Ukraine’s economy is also largely based on energy.
HowMuch.Net illustrated how reliant each country is on tourism, with bright pink meaning it is highly reliant on tourism, and bright blue indicating the least reliant on tourism.
The map also resizes each country to indicate the overall size of its tourism industry by dollar value. The United States has a $488 billion travel industry — the largest in the world.
But travel to the U.S. is on the decline, due largely to what experts call the “Trump slump.” President Donald Trump’s policies have made the country “an uncomfortable place for foreigners,” according to MarketWatch columnist Rex Nutting, and Oxford Economics found that travel could drop by 8% this year due to the impact of the current administration’s proposals to restrict immigration.
Spending on travel and tourism in the U.S. fell 3.3% year-over-year to $1.7 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2016, after rising 3.7% in the previous quarter, according to the “Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts” of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Still, the U.S. eclipses other countries as far as the size of its tourism industry goes:
On the other end of the spectrum from Russia and Ukraine, there are some countries that are heavily reliant on tourism to sustain their economies. Malta and Croatia are the most reliant, with tourism comprising 15% of Malta’s and Croatia’s GDP. Thailand and Jamaica come in third and fourth place, respectively.
And No. 5 is Iceland, which may as well be the Pumpkin Spice Latte of travel destinations. The country saw its tourism numbers rise from just 490,000 in 2010 to a whopping 1.8 million in 2016, according to the Icelandic Tourist Board. In fact, the country receives more visitors in one year than the entire population of the country.
The dramatic and otherworldly landscapes of Iceland’s colorful villages and icy waterfalls are being documented on millions of Instagram feeds. Kayak vice president of marketing David Solomito told Vox that Iceland’s spike in popularity could largely be attributed to social media sites like Facebook’s
“It’s not too far (from Boston or New York, it’s a quick flight) — but when you’re there, it feels like you’re on a different planet,” he says. “People see pictures on social media and think it’s on Mars. It feels out of this world. It has that Instagram factor.”
The US has the world’s largest travel industry — but these are the countries most dependent on tourism – MarketWatch