Concentration and dispersal of tourism is a key challenge. Uneven growth in tourism can be observed globally, nationally and even at the destination level, where iconic places might suffer from ‘overtourism’. The indicators shown here whether global tourism concentrates towards fewer dominating source markets (Top 10 Outbound) and recipient destinations (Top 10 Inbound), or whether it diversifies to include a wider range of countries. In addition, and to assess the aspect of equality in travel, an indicator has been created to show the share of outbound tourism from Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Data are from the WTTC.
Top 10 Countries for Outbound Travel
Top 10 Countries for Inbound Travel
Outbound Spending by countries from the LDC and SIDS groups
About half of global international tourism occurs between 10 countries.
Goal 10 of the SDGs seeks to reduce inequality amongst countries, and participation in travel and tourism could be one vehicle to progressing this goal.
Tourism is relatively concentrated in time and space, and this trend is becoming more evident with the fast increase in Chinese tourism activity. Better dispersion of tourism is likely to be more sustainable because the economic benefits are more spread out and because capacity constraints in popular destinations are mitigated. A report on ‘overtourism‘ has recently been published by McKinsey and the WTTC. Greater participation in tourism reflects progress in equality in that people from a greater range of countries are participating in global travel.
The selected indicators track whether global tourism concentrates towards fewer dominating source markets and recipient destinations, or whether it diversifies over time. Data also show whether visitors from developing countries are increasingly participating in global tourism.
- The share of the Top 10 outbound countries of total global tourism expenditure in 2018 was steady compared with the previous year at 57%. In other words, well over half of international tourism export activity is due to the outbound travel from 10 countries.
- The long-term pattern indicates that the concentration of outbound expenditure amongst the Top 10 has declined between 2000 and 2010 to reach a low point of about 52%. It has since increased due to the growing dominance of Chinese tourism expenditure, and appears steady in the moment.
- In 2018, South Korea replaced Spain as the 10th most important outbound market.
- In terms of tourism receiving countries, the Top 10 destinations accumulated 52% of global tourism expenditure in 2018, down from 53% in 2017. This means, just slightly over half of global tourism exports occur in ten countries.
- The analysis of the WTTC data demonstrates the heavy concentration of benefit received by the top three countries, namely the USA, China and Spain. France has moved to fourth position in 2018.
- The share of international outbound tourism coming from LDC and SIDS countries is very small, and measured only 1.3% in 2018, the same share as in 2017.