China, the US and India took the top three spots in the WTTC’s new Power Ranking, released ahead of World Tourism Day celebrations.
The three countries ranked top in terms of absolute growth in the past seven years, combining tourism’s contribution to GDP, international visitor spend, domestic tourism spend and capital investment.
WTTC explained that the inclusion of domestic spend and investment in the ranking allows for “a more rounded measure of performance and prioritisation” than the more usual measures of GDP contribution and international spend.
Other countries that saw the greatest absolute increase are, in order, Mexico in fourth place, the UK, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, followed by Australia and the UAE tied in tenth place.
On the Performance Ranking, which looks at growth rate as opposed to absolute growth, Myanmar, Iraq and Georgia came out tops.
These are followed by Rwanda, Iceland, Nicaragua, Qatar, Congo, Armenia and Ivory Coast.
WTTC president and CEO Gloria Guevara commented: “Notably, G20 countries dominate the league, representing 12 of the top 20 countries, displaying once again the importance of travel and tourism both to mature markets and the global economy. Then, the emergence of up-and-coming countries highlights the central role that tourism can play within developing economies.
“WTTC advocates that such growth is driven by strong travel facilitation policies, sustainable and proactive planning, and robust infrastructures that can withstand crises. Under such management, travel and tourism can thrive, as in the case of Indonesia where radical visa reform has been matched by a rapid growth in international tourist arrivals in the last seven years.”