History of tourism – most popular countries for tourists | Our last blog post in this series takes a look at the popular travel destinations country wise. According to Wikipedia, France is the number 1 destination for leisure seeking travelers. Staggering 84 million international tourists did arrive in France in 2016. That exceeds the population of France by 17 million (France total estimate: 67 mill).
In large parts tourism happens within Europe. As you can see in our top 10 tourist destinations list, non-European contributors are only US, China and Mexico. One might now argue that Russia and Turkey have large parts of their countries located in Asia. Ok, but let’s be honest. How much tourism is going on in Siberia or Kurdistan?
1 France -> 84 million international tourists in 2016
2 United States -> 75 million
3 Spain -> 65 million
4 China -> 55 million
5 Italy -> 48 million
6 Turkey -> 40 million
7 Germany -> 33 million
8 United Kingdom -> 32 million
9 Russia -> 29 million
10 Mexico -> 29 million
Another interesting statistics shows the origin of all these international tourists. WTO (World Tourist Organisation) published this list of top 10 biggest spenders on international tourism. No surprise: China is rising. But amazingly Australia with just 24 million inhabitants made it into this list too. These few Australians must be traveling up and down the planet a freaking lot to claim the #9 spot.
1 China -> $164.9 billion spent abroad
2 United States -> $110.8 billion
3 Germany -> $92.2 billion
4 United Kingdom -> $57.6 billion
5 Russia -> $50.4 billion
6 France -> $47.8 billion
7 Canada -> $33.8 billion
8 Italy -> $28.8 billion
9 Australia -> $26.3 billion
10 Brazil -> $25.6 billion
History of Tourism – Forgotten Tourist Destinations | Tourism is a fickle business, with destinations going in and out of vogue as quickly as moon boots. Destinations that were hot only a few decades ago have since gone quiet, becoming a shadow of their glory days. What caused the flux in the fad? The reasons for former travel industry heavyweights falling from grace vary. We start with Tijuana …
Tijuana, Mexico | Just opposite of San Diego in the U.S., Tijuana once used to be a #1 tourist destination. The hype started during the prohibition era in the United States and ended with drug cartels taking over control of the Mexican city. If you are suicidal or twisted: plan a trip to Tijuana. Many places are no longer ‘gringo-friendly’. For a tourist this would require the use of Spanish, and patience. If you don’t have those two skills you better avoid this place.
Reno, United States | Located on the northern shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe, Reno was a serious contender to Las Vegas in the 1950s. But Vegas soon did win this battle because of the ability to built an international airport. Getting to Reno is a pain.
Pyramids of Meroe, Sudan | Egypts ancient glory did reach far more south then you might know. Sudan was part of the empire. Connected with Cairo by the Nile River the desert region of eastern Sudan was an important supply partner for the pharaos. Along the banks of the Nile River lies a forgotten collection of 200 ancient pyramids: tombs of the kings and queens of the Meroitic Kingdom. The so-called Meroe pyramids are smaller than their Egyptian counterparts, with more narrow bases and more steep angles on the sides. The majority of them was built between 700 and 300 B.C. They show decorative elements from Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire. Once these pyramids were the main attraction for Sudan’s tourist industry. But that’s history. The region has been devastated by a series of economic sanctions imposed by Western nations, by a cruel civil war and the more recent Darfur conflict. Today Sudan welcomes less than 15,000 tourists per year, compared to 200,000 in the past.
Chateau de Noisy, Belgium | Kind of a hidden gem was ‘Chateau de Noisy’ in Belgium. This castle was built in 1866 by an English architect for the Liedekerke De Beaufort family. The bluebloods had left their previous home during the French Revolution. Construction was completed very late in 1907 after the clock tower finally got its last touch. The descendants of the Liedekerke-De Beaufort family remained in occupation until World War II. But then the castle was occupied by German Nazis. In 1950, ‘Chateau de Noisy’ was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB) as an orphanage and also a holiday camp for sick children. In 1978 this institution closed. Nature took over.
Tunnel of Love, Ukraine | We have seen this photo a 1000 times. It’s probably one of the most used in the world wide web. But the so-called ‘Tunnel of Love’ is located off the beaten path, at an amusement railway near Klevan in Ukraine. Few tourists make it there. Ukraine is a rough place.
Canfranc Station, Spain | The railway station at Canfranc in the Pyrenees Mountains opened in 1928 and quickly became a strategic transportation hub between France and Spain. But it all ended abruptly in 1970 when a train derailment demolished the L’Estanguet bridge near Accous on the French side of the mountains. The French decided not to rebuild the bridge, the cross border line was closed and never re-opened. The main building has been re-roofed a few years ago, but is otherwise in a state of disrepair.
Varosha Famagusta, Cyprus | Varosha is the abandoned southern suburb of Famagusta. Prior to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Varosha was a modern tourist area. Its inhabitants fled during the invasion. The quarter came under Turkish control, and still is under the occupation of the Turkish Armed Forces. Between 1970 and 1974, Varosha was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world – a favourite hot spot of celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot. As of 2016, the quarter continues to be a ghost town. Entry is forbidden. Thank you Turkey.
History of Tourism – Antarctica | In 1966, the first ship carrying tourists arrived in Antarctica: 57 leisure travelers were ready to visit the world’s southernmost land mass. The tour was lead by Swedish-American entrepreneur Lars-Eric Lindblad. He was aware that his journey to the frozen continent might be tangled with complications. “Going there might even be impossible”, he told his group. 50 years later, the impossible has become normality.
Approx. 50,000 wealthy travelers did set foot on Antarctica in 2016. Although US-Americans still lead the pack in numbers, Chinese adventurers are right at their heels, taking over the #2 spot from the Germans.
The cruise industry dominates tourism in Antarctica, with 90% tourist landings on the icy continent. But 10% of tourists now just fly over the continent. Several operators offer 12-hour sightseeing flights aboard chartered Boeings.
How much will a 14-day trip to Antarctica cost per person?
An antarctic cruise usually starts at $10,000. Some food for search: Silversea Cruises Ltd., Carnival Corp., CruiseCompete.com, Hurtigruten Group ASA Scenic Tours. Scenic Tours actually specializes in upscale European river boat trips. But the company is now building a 228-passenger luxury yacht. Antarctica will be its key destination. Launch: probably in August 2018. Her name: ‘Scenic Eclipse’. She will carry two helicopters to fly the wealthier of the wealthy tourists inland, and the yacht will also carry a 7-seat submarine.
Tourism Antarctica: Travelers interested in it usually have 2 things in common:
-> They are freaking rich
-> They have been almost everywhere else
History of tourism – Space tourism since 2016 | For rich people the sky is the limit. But make no mistake, we are speaking about the stratosphere-kind-of-sky, where the air is so thin you need to be an astronaut to survive. Dennis Tito was the first. On April 28, 2001 this American engineer and multi millionaire, became the very first space tourist to fund his own trip into the orbit. He spent 8 days at the International Space Station (ISS). Until 2009 five more space tourists – one of them a woman – made that same journey, spending up to 15 days in orbit. It will take roughly 15 more years to get regularly operating space tourism projects on its feed. Two names come in play here: Elon Musk and Richard Branson. Let’s start with Musk: SpaceX is his brain child. He made a name by also founding the online payment service PayPal and of course Tesla; the electrical car that everybody wants to own. Dennis Tito had to pay US$20 Million for his trip. SpaceX put out a price tag of just US$5 million, because it’s operating with the reusable Falcon 9 spaceship. That’s pocket change for billionaires. Falcon 9 successfully past its first test flight on December 9, 2015.
Virgin Records Founder Richard Branson is targeting the same market. His project Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004. It has been pursuing the development of a small sat launch vehicle. In 2015 the company began to make the small sat launch business a larger part of Virgin’s core business plan, because the human spaceflight program experienced multiple delays. But once the human spaceflight program is back on track it will only cost you $250,000 to liftoff. For return-tickets to heaven that’s cheap!
History of Tourism – Sex Tourism since the 1950s | Per definition we speak of sex tourism when the main purpose of a vacation is to engage in sexual activity. First traces of such indecent doing on a large scale can be found in Cuba and the Philippines in the 1950s. Cuba’s reputation as an exotic playground for the United States already came to light in the late 1920s. The Caribbean country became a favorite destination for American robber barons, bohemians and playboys. Soon after US celebrities and politicians flocked to Cuba for winter bouts of gambling, fucking, horse racing, golfing and country-clubbing. Finally, in the booming 1950s average Americans could effort a trip to Cuba. The island slowly transformed into one huge brothel, until Fidel Castro and Che Guevara abruptly stopped all that craziness. American sex tourists now moved their focus towards the Philippines, Dominica and Puerto Rico …
The Philippines became a hot spot for prostitution because of the involvement of US troops in Asia during World War II. The existence of U.S. Army bases such as Angeles City were the reason that the word about cheap beautiful Filipino women spread rapidly within the United States.
But neither Cuba nor the Philippines are among todays top countries for sex tourism. The undisputed leader is Thailand. In Thailand, prostitution is very common and socially reinforced by the high value placed on sexual experience for men. Thai women want sexually experienced men as husbands. But guess what: Thai society also places a high value on sexual purity for women. Both factors combined create high demand for commercial sex workers. International sex tourists took advantage of this situation. Numbers are not really confirmed, but several sources estimate the amount of people directly involved in sex tourism in Thailand at 2.8 million. That includes 25,000 males and sadly enough also 800,000 minors under the age of 18. Thai sex workers send an annual average of US$300 million to their family members. Hotels, restaurants and transportation services heavily depend on sex tourists. approx. 4.5 million tourists come to Thailand each year specifically for sex. 20% of Thailands economic performance are fueled by sex tourism. 750,000 Thai people have AIDS.
Other popular destinations for sex tourists: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Kenya.