10 travel destinations for life after the pandemic

10 travel destinations for life after the pandemic

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The resulting travel bans decimated the tourism industry, and international air travel initially fell by up to 50% 98%.

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

For inspiration for your next vacation (whenever), this infographic lists the 10 most visited countries in 2019 along with three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.

Good Trip

These are the 10 most popular travel destinations of 2019 based on the number of international arrivals.

country Number of international arrivals in 2019 (millions)
🇫🇷 France* 90.0
🇪🇸 Spain 83.5
🇬🇧 US 79.3
🇨🇳 China 65.7
🇮🇹 Italy 64.5
🇹🇷 Turkey 51.2
🇲🇽 Mexico 45.0
🇹🇭Thailand 39.8
Germany 39.6
🇬🇧 United Kingdom 39.4

*estimate | Source: World Bank

France was by far the most popular destination and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most famous landmarks, including the triumphal arch and Louvre Museum.

Built in the early 19th century, the Arc de Triomphe honors the dead of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the memorial after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognizable by its huge glass pyramid. The museum houses over 480,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Art isn’t the only thing France has to offer. The country has a solid reputation for culinary excellence and is home to 632 Michelin-starred restaurants, the best of any country. Japan is second with 413.

While you are there…

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

One of the most impressive sights is the Sagrada Família, a massive 440,000 square foot church that began construction in 1882 and is still being worked on today (139 years of construction). The following video shows the remarkable development of the structure.

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

Another popular place is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain famous for its robust nightlife. The island is frequently referenced in pop culture – Netflix released an adventure/romance film titled Ibiza in 2018 and the remix of Mike Posner’s song 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, which are 7th and 8th most popular destinations. Both offer hot weather and an abundance of white sandy beaches.

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

Expect turbulence

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent by international tourists every year. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), that spending has been impressive 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.

The travel restrictions introduced in 2020 dealt a severe blow to the industry and reduced its share of global GDP 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 prompted many countries to tighten restrictions again.

To avoid headaches in the future, make sure you fully understand the rules and restrictions of your destination.

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