Travel News | 2024 Global Tourism Rankings Announced: China Secures Eighth Position

June 17, 2024
By Carrie Li

Global Tourism Country Rankings Released for 2024 

The World Economic Forum has unveiled the 2024 rankings for the Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI), evaluating countries on various aspects of their tourism performance. This year, the USA, Spain, and Japan clinch the top three spots as the leading global tourism powerhouses, with China advancing to eighth place, up one position from last year. 【Source: The World Economic Forum】

China Reclaims Its Title as the World’s Largest Tourism Spender 

Following a robust recovery from the pandemic in the Asia-Pacific region, China has once again become the top spender in international tourism as of 2023. In 2022, the USA held this distinction. France, Spain, and the USA continue to be the most visited countries. Projected to reach $196.5 billion in 2023, China’s outbound tourism expenditure surpasses that of the USA ($150 billion), Germany ($112 billion), the UK ($110 billion), and France ($49 billion). Other significant spenders include Canada, Italy, India, the Russian Federation, and South Korea. Notably, India rose from 14th in 2019 to 8th place, highlighting its increasing importance as a source market, while Italy ascended from 10th to 7th.

France led the global stage by welcoming 100 million international tourists in 2023, reinforcing its status as the world’s most popular destination. Following closely are Spain with 85 million, the USA with 66 million, Italy with 57 million, and Turkey with 55 million. The list of the top ten most frequent destinations also includes Mexico, the UK, Germany, Greece, and Austria. Post-pandemic, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Germany, and Austria have all increased in rank, with the UK rising from 10th to 7th and Greece from 13th to 9th.

The USA topped the charts in international tourism revenue in 2023, amassing $176 billion, followed by Spain ($92 billion), the UK ($74 billion), France ($69 billion), and Italy ($56 billion). Other high earners in tourism revenue for 2023 include the UAE, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Macau (China), India, and Mexico, all featuring in the top 15. Significant upward movements include the UK from 5th to 3rd place since the pandemic, the UAE from 13th to 6th, Turkey from 12th to 7th, Canada from 15th to 9th, Saudi Arabia from 27th to 12th, and Mexico from 17th to 15th. In 2023, the total international tourism receipts (including income and passenger transport) reached $1.7 trillion, approximately 96% of the pre-pandemic levels. 

The tourism sector’s direct GDP contribution has returned to pre-pandemic levels, estimated at $3.3 trillion or about 3% of the global GDP. The “World Tourism Barometer” indicates that international tourist numbers in 2023 have rebounded to 89% of their 2019 figures. Predictions by the United Nations tourism sector suggest a full recovery in global tourism by 2024, propelled by strong demand, enhanced air connectivity, and sustained recovery in China and other major Asian markets, with a 2% increase in visitor numbers from 2019 levels. 【Source: UN Tourism】

Competitive Pricing Attracts German Tourists to Turkey 

Turkey remains a favourite holiday destination for German travellers. According to the German Travel Association (DRV), market share for summer holidays in Greece and Turkey is expected to increase from 36% to 44% this summer compared to 2019, with bookings for Turkey alone seeing a 45% increase over the same period last year. Most German tourists opt for all-inclusive packages when visiting Antalya, notes a spokesperson from Türsab. Turkey aims to attract 7 million German visitors in 2024. Despite a surge in local prices, with inflation rates in May seeing a year-on-year increase of 75% and hotel and restaurant prices in local currency up by nearly 92% compared to May 2023, the depreciation of the Lira against the Euro means the price rise is less stark in Euro terms.

In 2023, 6.2 million Germans holidayed in Turkey, with 81% choosing Antalya. The Mediterranean Association of Tourist Hoteliers and Operators (AKTOB) anticipates that this year alone, 4 million German visitors will travel to Antalya, setting a new record. This exceeds the numbers from last year and those from 2019. During the summer, workers from across the country move to Antalya to engage in the tourism sector, providing significant economic support to their families and communities. Nationally, about 3 million people are employed in tourism during the summer, representing about 11% of the total workforce. Last year, tourists in Turkey spent an average of 900 euros each, totalling 56 million visitors. 【Source: Tourism Review】

Italy Anticipates a Boost in Overnight Stays This Summer 

The Italian hotel sector is experiencing robust growth, with accommodation numbers up 3.8% in the first five months of 2024. This positive trend is expected to continue through the summer, with projected overnight stays in official accommodations reaching 216 million from June to August, marking a 1.5% increase from last summer. Foreign tourists are poised to play a significant role, contributing 105 million visits, an increase of 2.5%. Meanwhile, domestic demand is projected to remain steady, with 110.9 million overnight stays, a rise of 0.5%.

The dynamics between these markets indicate a shift, with domestic tourist shares expected to decline to 48.6% while foreign visitor shares are projected to rise to 51.4% (compared to 48.2% and 51.8% in 2023, respectively). Bookings suggest strong demand from traditional source markets, with noticeable increases from Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Belgium, the UK, and Brazil. Beyond Europe, the American market is showing significant growth, while Canadian and Scandinavian markets maintain stability. However, there’s a slight decline in demand from China, Japan, India, and Spain. 【Source: Tourism Review】

India Emerges as a Rapidly Growing Destination for Outbound Tourism 

A McKinsey report underscores India’s burgeoning role as a fast-growing destination for outbound tourism. Reinforcing earlier forecasts, the study predicts India will ascend to the world’s fourth-largest domestic travel market by 2030, currently positioned at sixth. The report highlights, “They are developing rapidly growing cohorts of tourists.”

Indian tourists’ spending abroad has reached new peaks. Data from the Reserve Bank of India shows that Indians spent $31.7 billion overseas during the 2023-2024 fiscal year, with about 54% of this, or $17 billion, dedicated to travel. A report last year by Booking.com and McKinsey projected that Indian travel expenditure would rise from $15 billion in 2019 to $41 billion by 2030.

Countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, and South Africa have eased visa requirements for Indian tourists. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, and Turkey also consider India a key tourism market, intensifying their marketing efforts. 【Source: Skift】

Singapore Tourism Board Becomes First Overseas AI Partner with Mafengwo 

On June 11, the Singapore Tourism Board and Mafengwo celebrated a strategic cooperation launch in Beijing, enhancing their partnership in marketing, data, IP, and industry sectors. Mafengwo’s new AI travel assistant was unveiled during this event, marking the Singapore Tourism Board as Mafengwo’s first overseas destination AI partner. This collaboration aims to streamline and enrich travel experiences for tourists planning trips to Singapore, affectionately known as the “Lion City.” 【Source: Mafengwo】

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