The 34-mile bridge cost $20 billion to build (it took nine years!) Japan and Macao also saw strong numbers, which helped contribute to the 168 million tourists who visited the region in 2018. The locale is famously home to the Great Blue Hole, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with beautiful rock formations that look like icicles. Puerto Rico was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Maria, suffering at least $100 billion worth of damage, which likely contributed heavily to its 40 percent decrease in tourist arrivals. St. Maarten, which was struck by Hurricane Irma, fared even worse, experiencing a steep 69.3 percent drop in traffic. Ha Long Bay, for instance, is popular among kayakers, hikers and casual explorers who experience the blue-green waters and rocky formations on various boat tours. There are also a number of historical and cultural sites to visit, such as the Roman Coliseum at El Jem (which is one of the largest ancient amphitheaters in the world) and the remains of the ancient city of Carthage.
Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines also saw strong growth last year, thanks in part to additional visits from Chinese travelers. Those countries are popular among people who live in nearby areas and Asia, according to the WTO. Belize, known for its gorgeous sandy beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and top-notch snorkeling and scuba-diving sites. Smaller regions like Tuvalu, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu saw huge jumps in tourist traffic. Argentina, the most popular country in South America, saw a modest 3.5 percent uptick in traffic, though WTO experts expect that growth to accelerate in coming months. Still, other parts of the Caribbean experienced “strong growth” in 2018, according to the WTO — the Dominican Republic and Jamaica were popular destinations for Americans and Europeans, for example, growing 6.2 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. It’s also relatively easy to travel to Kazakhstan — the citizens of many countries, including the U.S., can visit for up to 30 days without a visa. However, so many people are visiting France again that popular sites like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and Carcassonne are now overrun with visitors.
and is the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built. All told, nearly every country in Western Europe saw an increase in tourism traffic in 2018, leading to a 5.6 percent increase for the region overall. With its flavorful local foods, affordability, varying terrain and bustling cities, it’s no surprise that the country is at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. With specific exceptions, several presidential proclamations restrict foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days from entering the United States. Even the slowest-growing country, China — the largest destination in North-East Asia — is on the upswing. The country also boasts a number of cultural and religious heritage sites, like the Changu Narayan Temple and Bhaktapur Durbar Square, as well as ample opportunity for outdoor recreation in the Himalayas. Overall, some 286.2 million people visited this part of the world last year. Located south of central Russia and west of China, this massive landlocked country is home to some incredible natural landscapes, like Charyn Canyon and Big Almaty Lake, as well as many awe-inspiring mosques. Americans were also eager to travel to Italy, which helped boost that country’s numbers by 4.9 percent.
Norway, too, struggled, dipping 2.5 percent. Travelers were inspired to visit Nepal by several promotional campaigns, which primarily reached tourists in India, China and Europe, according to the WTO. The country is known for its exemplary beer and food scene, which connoisseurs continue to love.
CDC recommends that older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness postpone all nonessential travel to the following destinations: CDC recommends that older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness talk to their healthcare providers before traveling to the following destinations: CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the following destinations because these countries have not reported COVID-19 data and risk is unknown: COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination, Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States, No Travel Health Notice: COVID-19 Risk is Very Low, Level 3: No Data Available-COVID-19 Risk is Unknown, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The one notable exception, Luxembourg, had an exceptional year in 2017, and was probably just cooling off from that.)
Ditto the fast-growing country of Ecuador, where sandy shores meet Amazonian rainforest and the staggering Andes mountains — not to mention the increasingly popular, wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands. The country’s capital city offers easy access to the famed Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, as well as the mummies and artifacts of the Egyptian Museum. Saudi Arabia was also a popular choice among travelers, garnering a 30.3 percent increase. All told, it was a good year for the South-East Asia region, which recorded 129.3 million international tourist arrivals. But the leader of the pack was the Cayman Islands, which is surging in popularity thanks to an influx of new hotels (including luxe Grand Hyatt and Mandarin Oriental properties) and just-launched flights from Southwest and JetBlue. Check. Experts predict that the opening of the Hong-Kong- Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which connects mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong, will increase the flow of people moving between the three destinations. Despite chatter that people may be losing interest in Iceland, it actually saw a healthy 8.2 percent increase in tourist arrivals in 2018. India and the Maldives also saw more tourists year over year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
The fastest-growing destination here, South Korea, was likely boosted by its high-profile hosting of the 2018 Olympics, in the thriving county of PyeongChang. CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on other federal or private website. Snorkel in the Great Blue Hole? The World Tourism Organization (WTO), the arm of the United Nations that promotes and studies tourism around the world, has just released its updated World Tourism Barometer, which offers a window into short-term travel trends, ranging from how much money tourists are spending to which countries are welcoming the most visitors.
The top (and bottom) destinations on the list may surprise you.
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