These 10 Countries Lost More Than $400 Billion in Tourism Revenue Last Year

The pandemic travel slowdown continues to wreak havoc on the tourism industry

Natural Pool in Arikok National park on the North coast of Aruba
by Marc Guitard / Getty Images

There's no doubt about it—2020 was a year for the record book, and not in a good way. The tourism industry was more or less completely obliterated, and some early data shows just how badly.

Official-ESTA.com, a third-party visa application website for the United States Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), crunched numbers from the World Travel and Tourism Council and The World Bank to determine the countries with the greatest loss of tourism revenue in the first ten months of 2020. They are as follows:

  1. United States: $147.245 billion
  2. Spain: $46.707 billion
  3. France: $42.036 billion
  4. Thailand: $37.504 billion
  5. Germany: $34.641 billion
  6. Italy: $29.664 billion
  7. United Kingdom: $27.889 billion
  8. Australia: $27.206 billion
  9. Japan: $26.027 billion
  10. Hong Kong: $24.069 billion (mainland China ranks 11th, at $23.216 billion)

While these sums might seem exorbitant—tens of billions of dollars is quite a chunk of change—tourism dollars only comprise a small portion of each of these nations' gross domestic product (GDP). In the U.S., for instance, tourism accounted for just 2.8 percent of the country's GDP in 2018. So while each of these countries has been dealt a blow, their national economies aren't actually all too reliant upon tourism dollars. (Of course, that's no consolation to the millions of people who have lost their jobs and businesses due to the travel slowdown.)

Official-ESTA.com has also crunched the numbers for the countries that have lost the highest percentage of their GDP due to the pandemic's effect on tourism. They are as follows:

  1. Macao (a special administrative region of China): 43.1%
  2. Aruba: 38.1%
  3. Turks and Caicos: 37.8%
  4. Antigua and Barbuda: 33.6%
  5. Maldives: 31.1%
  6. Northern Mariana Islands: 28.5%
  7. St. Lucia: 26.8%
  8. Palau: 26.3%
  9. Grenada: 26.0%
  10. Seychelles: 20.6%

With vaccines being administered worldwide, it's only a matter of time before travel begins its rebound. However, full economic recovery in the tourism sector will likely take years.

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