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10 travel destinations for post-pandemic life

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 plummeted as 98%.

Almost two years later, travel is finally back on the table, although there are plenty of restrictions to consider. Anyway, an investigation in September 2021 found that as things returned to normal, 82% of Americans look forward to international travel more than anything else.

To inspire you for your next vacation (whatever it may be), this infographic lists the 10 most visited countries in 2019, along with three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.

have a nice trip

Here are the 10 most popular travel destinations in 2019, measured by their 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 the most popular travel destination by a significant margin, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most renowned sites, including the Triumphal arch and Louvre Museum.

The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s and honors those who died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the monument after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognized by its giant glass pyramid. The museum houses more than 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 reputation for culinary excellence and is home to 632 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most out of any country. Japan comes second, with 413.

While you’re there…

After visiting 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 its most impressive sites is the Sagrada Familia, a massive 440,000 square foot church that began construction in 1882 and is still being built today (139 years old). The video below shows the striking evolution of the structure.

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

Another popular place is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain famous for its vibrant nightlife. The island is frequently mentioned in pop culture – Netflix released an adventure/romance film titled Ibiza in 2018, and the remix of the song by Mike Posner 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 the 7th and 8th most popular travel destinations. Both offer warm weather and an abundance of white sand beaches.

If you need even more convictions, 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), these expenses represented an impressive amount 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.

Travel restrictions introduced in 2020 have dealt a blow to the industry, reducing its share of global GDP to 5.5%and destroying an estimate 62 million works. While the WTCC believes those 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 understand the rules and restrictions of where you’re going.

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