Where Do the People of the World Travel to – and Why?
Having a look at where people travel to most from a country throws up some fascinating comparisons between nations. Most countries visit their near neighbours as we might expect, but some of the top spots for other countries can be surprising – as can how much people spend when traveling.
Check out our guide below to the most popular travel destinations for people from some of the most visited countries in the world including the United States, Canada and France.
Most Popular Travel Destinations for Americans
Americans, who are famed for their lack of international travel (only 37% of the country's citizens own passports) visit Mexico and Canada, followed by the UK – but the Dominican Republic beats France into fourth place; would you really have expected that?
Most Popular Travel Destinations for Canadians
The USA's northern neighbour Canada is another interesting example. As you might expect, the top countries visited by Canadians are the USA followed by Mexico for what are hopefully obvious reasons – followed by the UK as the “mother” country. Next on the list is the world’s most-visited country, France – but then comes Cuba in fifth place. This may be influenced by “snow birds” seeking winter warmth (the Dominican Republic is also popular with Canadians in seventh place).
But what about business travel? For Canadians, China is the 8th most visited country, Germany the 6th; probably thanks to a blend of business and leisure travel. Travel credit cards in Canada - which also help by rewarding their users with cashback and other freebies - and other data, however, help reveal how much the country’s citizens spend in relation to other countries.
In this regard, Canadians rank third in the world spending an annual average of $1,007 per person on international travel. Only Germans, where workers enjoy six weeks’ holiday per year, and Australians, whose travelers have to take longer flights, out-spend the Canadians. Incidentally, the new kid on the block in travel spending per capita is China – which is moving up the charts quickly, though the UK remains in fourth place.
Most Popular Travel Destinations for French People
So what about the most-visited country on the planet, France? Where do French people travel to? Well, accurate statistics are harder to come by though we would expect France’s European neighbours to top the list. But there is interesting data on where French people would like to go on holiday if they had the chance. New York tops this list, followed by Sydney, Montreal, then relatively neighbours Florence and Barcelona; so it’s not all about far-flung ambition.
More obviously though, and rather like the Americans, the French tend to stay largely at home for their holidays. According to estimates, 75% of French people stay in their own country for their holidays – and why wouldn’t they?
According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the U.S. and Spain occupy the second and third places after France for most-visited countries, followed by China, Italy, the UK, Germany and Mexico. But when it comes to the cash, the USA earns the most, followed by Spain, Thailand, and China with France down in fifth place. So maybe a lot of other countries visit France briefly – or are thriftier when they’re there – staying in campsites, for example?
But if you really want to see local outnumbered by tourists, you need to visit the little Pyrenean Principality of Andorra. Here, close to 2.4 million tourists a year are welcomed by the country’s population of 70,000; around 34 tourists per resident!