The global travel industry has slowed to a stop over the past month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With planes grounded, ships docked and trains running stripped back services to promote self-isolation, the countries most dependent on tourism to survive and prosper are among those being hardest hit, Forbes reported.
So, when the wheels and propellers start turning and we begin to travel again – and it's entirely likely we'll see a quick boom in the industry in reaction to the lockdown – it's worth thinking about where we'll go and why.
If you're reading this, you probably love to travel, which may be reason enough to choose to go somewhere your dollar, pound or euro (or any other currency for that matter) will make a real difference.
And looking at the definitive list that Official Esta has put together defining those countries most dependent on travel, it's a happy coincidence that they are, without exception, extraordinary places to visit and likely not at the top of most people's travel itineraries.
Based on the data accrued, Official Esta states that Bangladesh is the country most dependent on tourism with an extraordinary 944 related jobs for every 100 visitors to the country, or nine jobs for every tourist.
The Top Ten
1. Bangladesh – 9 jobs per tourist (944 per 100)
2. India – 2 jobs per tourist (172 per 100)
3. Pakistan – 2 jobs per tourist (154 per 100)
4. Venezuela – 1 job per tourist (101 per 100)
5. Ethiopia – 1 job per tourist (99 per 100)
6. Madagascar – 1 job per tourist (93 per 100)
7. Philippines – 1 job per tourist (83 per 100)
8. Guinea – 1 job per tourist (77 per 100)
9. Libya – 1 job per tourist (68 per 100)
10. Nigeria – 1 job per tourist (66 per 100)
Typically, "this is really positive for the Bangladeshi community – and the people visiting there because it means that there is a thriving economy that has a demand for roles to be filled," noted Jayne Forrester, Director of International Development at Official Esta, prior to the pandemic. Though now this leaves the country more exposed to a tourism shortfall and so at greater risk of unemployment.
In second spot, but far far behind in terms of numbers is India, with 172 jobs available for every 100 tourists. In a country as vast and populous as India, this equates to 26,741,000 tourism jobs or nearly two for every tourist. Interestingly, India isn't just burgeoning as a tourism destination but is also one of the fastest growing outbound tourism markets in the world as well, with a particular boom in younger Indians exploring the world.
The majority of the top ten is rounded out by other Asian nations as well as African and a lone Southern American country in Venezuela.
The list is based on data showing the direct contribution of travel and tourism to employment to establish how many tourism jobs are created for every 100 visitors across some 170 countries worldwide. In 2019, 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals were recorded globally – a figure that was previously expected to rise by around 4% in 2020, although we'll clearly now actually see a significant downturn in that figure no matter how soon things 'return to normal'.
Tourism brings with it jobs in myriad forms, from the restaurant and bar workers to front and back office tour operator staff, local guides, hoteliers, car rental and so many more. Most of the time, tourism is a driver of job growth and a healthy economy – indeed, in 2017 one in five of all new jobs created worldwide came from the demands of tourism.
What this table doesn't tell you is the trends around these figures, which reveals an interesting alternative perspective. In 2013, Iceland had just seven jobs available for every 100 tourists, but in 2018 this has risen by 109% to 15 – a legacy of its recent shift in the global consciousness to an en vogue destination thanks to its abundance of natural wonders, including the feted Northern Lights, and perceived progressive outlook on the world.
Another great example of this is Grenada, which has seen its tourism job rate rise from five in 2013 to nine now, most likely down to price increases pushing people away from more established destinations like Barbados and St Lucia. In the first half of 2019 alone, Grenada saw 318,559 visitors – quite a few for such a small island!
So while you're sitting at home, self isolating like a responsible citizen, but dreaming of far flung destinations, perhaps take a moment to consider if where you're going will benefit the country you're visiting as well as sating your own travel fantasies.