Recreational travel - what a wonderful way to rest, refresh, learn and grow! With new sights, new tastes and new worlds to discover, it's no wonder that it's not only a very popular but growing global leisure activity.
Doesn't the picture of the airliner winging its way to somewhere wonderful - somewhere far away from the pressures and problems of the day - capture your imagination?
In 2010, when many industries were flatlining or declining, there were over 940 million international tourist arrivals worldwide, representing a growth of 6.6% over the previous year. International tourism receipts grew to $919 billion in 2010, an increase of 4.7%.
Tourism is vital to the economies of many countries including France, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, the United States, the UK, Spain, Italy and Thailand. It contributes an estimated 5% to the worldwide gross domestic product (GDP).
Can you guess the most popularly visited country? In 2010, it was not the US (with 60 million visitors) or China (with 56 million) or Italy (with 44 million). No, the most popularly visited nation is ..France with an amazing 77 million visitors! Other major destinations: Spain (53M), the UK (28M), Turkey (27M), Germany (27M), Malaysia (25M) and Mexico (22M).
So which country spends the most on recreational traveling?? Here's the top 10: Germany ($78B), the US ($76B), China ($55B), the UK ($49B), France ($39B), Canada ($30B), Japan ($28B), Italy ($27B), Russia ($27B) and Australia ($23).
OK, so with all those interesting numbers, where's the money go?? The big winner is...the US with $104 billion spent here by recreational travelers in 2010. The rest of the top 10 are Spain ($53B), France ($46B), China ($46B), Italy ($39B), Germany ($35B), the UK ($30B), Australia ($30B), Hong Kong ($23B) and Turkey ($21B).
Interestingly, 50% of America's tourists only go is to Mexico or Canada. In fact, only 30% of us actually have a passport compared to 60% of Canadians and 75% of the UK's citizens. Do we stay at home because our country offers so much to see and experience? Or is it because we simply work too much? Or do we just not care to see international destinations? We'd love to get your thoughts on this. Just use the "Contact Us" page to let us know.