10 tourist destinations for a post-pandemic life

10 travel destinations for a post-pandemic life

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally classified the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic. The resulting travel bans have decimated the tourism industry and international air traffic initially fell by a staggering 98%.

Nearly two years later, travel is finally back on the table, although there are many limitations to be aware of. Regardless, a survey conducted in September 2021 found that, as things return to normal, 82% of Americans look forward to international travel more than anything else.

To provide inspiration for your next vacation (whenever that may be), this infographic lists the 10 most visited countries in 2019, as well as three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.

Good trip

These were the 10 most popular travel destinations in 2019, measured by the number of international arrivals.

Country Number of international arrivals in 2019 (millions)
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France* 90.0
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain 83.5
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ USA 79.3
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณChina 65.7
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy 64.5
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey 51.2
Mexico 45.0
Thailand 39.8
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany 39.6
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom 39.4

* Estimation | Source: World Bank

France was the most popular travel destination by a significant margin, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most renowned landmarks, including the Triumphal Arch and Louvre Museum.

Built in the early 1800s, the Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the monument after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognized by its gigantic glass pyramid. The museum is home to more than 480,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Art is not all France has to offer. The country is known for its culinary excellence and is home to 632 Michelin star restaurants, the most of any country. Japan comes in second with 413.

While you are there…

After seeing the sights in Paris, you may want to consider a visit to Spain. The country is France’s southern neighbor and is known for its pretty villages and beaches.

One of the most impressive sights is the holy family, a massive 440,000-square-foot church that began construction in 1882 and is still under construction (139 years in the making). The video below shows the striking evolution of the structure.

At a height of 172 meters, the Sagrada Familia is about 52 stories high.

Another popular place is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain known for its robust nightlife. The island is often mentioned in pop culture – Netflix has released an adventure/romantic movie titled Ibiza in 2018, and the remix of the song by Mike Posner I took a pill in Ibiza has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

Beaches galore

If you’re looking for something outside of Europe, consider Mexico or Thailand, the 7th and 8th most popular travel destinations. Both offer warm weather and an abundance of white sand beaches.

If you need even more convincing, check out these links:

Expect turbulence

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent annually by international tourists. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), these expenses accounted for an impressive 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.

Travel restrictions introduced in 2020 have dealt a severe blow to the industry, pushing the share of global GDP to 5.5%, and wiping out an estimated 62 million jobs. While the WTCC believes these jobs could return by 2022, the emerging Omicron variant has already caused many countries to tighten restrictions again.

To avoid headaches in the future, make sure you fully understand the rules and restrictions of where you are going.

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