Regions of the World, Ranked by Tourism Growth
Thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, it’s easier than ever to experience serious wanderlust on a daily basis. Standup paddleboard with manatees? Check. Get lost in the Blue City in Morocco? Yes, please. Snorkel in the Great Blue Hole? Sign me up.
With so many destinations at their fingertips, travelers have to be really choosy when plotting their itineraries. Some regions of the world are trendy right now, which means they’re seeing more travelers than in years past. Others are experiencing natural disasters, economic crises and wars, which has made them less popular among travelers.
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.
Here’s how the 15 regions of the world stacked up to each other when it came to international tourist arrivals in 2018. The top (and bottom) destinations on the list may surprise you.
Despite its crystal-clear, cerulean blue waters and picture-perfect beaches, the Caribbean struggled a bit in 2018, welcoming fewer tourists to its sunny shores than the year before.
The WTO suspects that some Caribbean islands are still trying to rebound from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. 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.
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.
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.
14. Central America
Mother Nature also likely contributed to declining tourism in Central America, with places like Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras suffering extensive damage from Tropical Storm Nate in October 2017. Overall, the region saw a slight drop in tourist arrivals in 2018.
Even so, travelers weren’t avoiding Central America entirely. They flocked to happening destinations like El Salvador, where tourist arrivals were up 13.3 percent.
The place trending up most? Belize, known for its gorgeous sandy beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and top-notch snorkeling and scuba-diving sites. The locale is famously home to the Great Blue Hole, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with beautiful rock formations that look like icicles.
13. Northern Europe
Though places like Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland made it onto travelers’ itineraries in 2018, other countries in Northern Europe weren’t as appealing. Faring worst was the UK, which saw a 5 percent decrease in traffic in part because of the fluctuation of the pound.
Norway, too, struggled, dipping 2.5 percent. A victim of its own popularity, the country had surged so much in recent years that overcrowding became a problem, pushing travelers to look elsewhere last year.
Despite chatter that people may be losing interest in Iceland, it actually saw a healthy 8.2 percent increase in tourist arrivals in 2018. The country began an intense marketing campaign to attract tourists after the 2010 eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökul — and it seems to have paid off. Cheap flights from WOW air and other Icelandic airlines, plus ruggedly beautiful scenery, have continued to lure travelers from all over the world.
Oceania can thank a strong Australian dollar for its 3 percent growth in tourist arrivals in 2018, says the WTO. Australia saw a 5.2 percent increase in visitors, while New Zealand saw a 3.1 percent bump.
Smaller regions like Tuvalu, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu saw huge jumps in tourist traffic. Tuvalu, a remote and nearly undeveloped chain of nine small islands north of Fiji, is incredibly gorgeous, but somewhat difficult to get to — there are just two arriving flights each week. Once travelers arrive, however, they’re treated to first-rate scuba diving and snorkeling along the coral reefs, plus fishing, boating and historical attractions (including a few plane wrecks and other remnants left over from World War II).
11. South America
South America's uptick in tourism was spurred on by massive new interest in places like Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Guyana. Those countries are popular among people who live in nearby areas and Asia, according to the WTO.
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. The weak Argentinian peso makes traveling to the country more affordable — and more appealing — for international tourists. From the high-energy nightlife in Buenos Aires to the awe-inspiring waterfalls inside Iguazu National Park (there are 275 in total!), Argentina has a little something for everyone to enjoy.
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. No wonder more and more tourists are flocking there in droves.
10. North America
The United States and Mexico led the way for overall growth in North America, which saw a modest but healthy increase in tourism traffic in 2018 (though the WTO notes this is likely to change as more data comes in). In addition to the United States' 6.9 percent spike, trips to Mexico increased 6 percent.
The countries that sent the most visitors to the United States in 2018 include the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany and India (all behind neighboring Mexico and Canada, of course), according to the National Travel and Tourism Office .
And where do people love to go once they arrive? New York City, Maui and Las Vegas are their top three favorite destinations, according to TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards .
9. South Asia
Visits to Nepal and Sri Lanka were up in 2018, which helped contribute to an overall boost in tourist arrivals in the South Asia region. India and the Maldives also saw more tourists year over year.
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 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.
8. Western Europe
It was a good year for Belgium, France and Liechtenstein, which all saw strong growth for international tourist arrivals. 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. (The one notable exception, Luxembourg, had an exceptional year in 2017, and was probably just cooling off from that.) The WTO credits good weather during the summer months for the region’s bump, which led to lots of local travel in the area.
France alone saw a 7.7 percent increase in tourist traffic, another sign that it has rebounded from low numbers following a string of terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016. However, so many people are visiting France again that popular sites like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and Carcassonne are now overrun with visitors .
The country's neighbor of Belgium also suffered as a result of tourism attacks in 2017, but pushed hard to rebound and came back strong last year. The country is known for its exemplary beer and food scene, which connoisseurs continue to love.
7. North-East Asia
Thanks to strong growth in South Korea and Mongolia, the North-East Asia region had a banner year in 2018. Japan and Macao also saw strong numbers, which helped contribute to the 168 million tourists who visited the region in 2018.
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. Visitors to this area can enjoy the excellent ski slopes that made it an ideal host for the Winter Games.
Even the slowest-growing country, China — the largest destination in North-East Asia — is on the upswing.
According to the WTO, North-East Asia is poised to grow even more in the coming years. 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. The 34-mile bridge cost $20 billion to build (it took nine years!) and is the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built.
6. Subsaharan Africa
Places like Cabo Verde, Reunion, Kenya and Mauritius are leading the way for this increasingly popular region.
The fastest-growing destination here, the island of Reunion, is an overseas region of France located east of Madagascar. With its mix of black- and white-sand beaches, it's no surprise it's been increasing its profile among international visitors.
The next fastest-growing destination in the region, Cabo Verde (which until recently was named Cape Verde), is made up of 10 tropical islands located off the western coast of Senegal and Mauritania. The sun shines nearly all year round here, and festivals and music play a prominent role.
South Africa, which is the most-visited country in Subsaharan Africa, only saw a modest 1.7 percent increase in international arrivals, likely because of a drought in Cape Town and a strong currency, according to the WTO.
5. Central and Eastern Europe
More than 144 million people visited Central and Eastern Europe last year, representing a healthy increase over 2017. Hungary saw a 15.3 percent increase in tourism traffic, thanks in part to improved air connectivity, according to the WTO. The largest country in this region, Russia, saw just 1.4 percent growth among tourist arrivals but a 40 percent increase in tourism spending thanks to the FIFA World Cup that took place in June and July.
But the best-performing country, perhaps surprisingly, was Kazakhstan. 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. 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.
4. Southern/Mediterranean Europe
Nearly a dozen countries saw double-digit growth in the Southern and Mediterranean Europe region, with Slovenia and Turkey leading the way. Overall, some 286.2 million people visited this part of the world last year.
A favorable exchange rate drew more people to Turkey, which saw 22.6 percent growth in international visitors. Slovenia, which grew even more than Turkey, was bolstered by a boost in media attention, thanks in part to an increasingly acclaimed culinary scene; Slovenian chef Ana Roš is a rock star of the foodie world, and was named the best female chef in the world in 2017.
Greece, where international visits grew by 10.8 percent, benefited by attracting more Chinese, Arab and American tourists last year, which accounted for some of its growth, according to the WTO. Americans were also eager to travel to Italy, which helped boost that country’s numbers by 4.9 percent.
3. South-East Asia
International interest in Vietnam skyrocketed in 2018, as the country welcomed 15.5 million tourists from all over the world. 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. 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.
All told, it was a good year for the South-East Asia region, which recorded 129.3 million international tourist arrivals. Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines also saw strong growth last year, thanks in part to additional visits from Chinese travelers.
2. Middle East
Nearly topping the list is the Middle East, where 63.6 million tourists headed in 2018. Visits to Egypt in particular ballooned last year. Saudi Arabia was also a popular choice among travelers, garnering a 30.3 percent increase. And since many travelers book joint tours, Jordan piggybacked off of Egypt’s popularity and saw a 7.7 percent increase in international traffic.
In Egypt, tourists embraced Cairo, which made the top 10 list for Middle East destinations in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. 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.
1. North Africa
The fastest-growing region in the world is North Africa, which welcomed nearly 24 million visitors in 2018.
The WTO credits “the lifting of negative travel advice” for a surge in European tourists visiting Tunisia, which saw incredible growth over the previous year.
Tunisia, home to more than 11 million people, offers a diverse mix of opportunities for tourists, from its picturesque Mediterranean beaches to the sand dunes of the Sahara. 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.
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5. Regional results
The Europe and Eurasia and Asia-Pacific regions dominate the index ranking, while sub-Saharan Africa showed the greatest improvement in performance.
Figure 13: Regional TTDI 2021 performance distribution
Overall, the Europe and Eurasia (Europe) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions dominate the TTDI ranking (9.0% and 4.9% above the TTDI average, respectively). However, Europe is the only region to have decreased its average score since 2019 (just -0.5%), very slightly eroding its considerable lead. On the other hand, the sub-Saharan Africa (Africa) region had the greatest improvement in performance (+1.1%), but far more needs to be done for economies in the region to catch up with the global average (-18.4% below TTDI average). The Americas and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions also underperform the global average (-3.1% and -2.8% below TTDI average). Nonetheless, the Americas region has marginally gained in its score (+0.6%), while MENA has remained relatively stable as its improvement (+0.1%) was in line with overall global performance.
The section below provides additional analysis of each region and highlights the top performers or interesting results. It is important to note that regions are often composed of a wide variety of economies at different levels of development. Therefore, the quantitative results may not reflect some of these more nuanced realities. For a more in-depth visualization of regional data, please click here .
While 13 out of the 21 Americas economies covered in the TTDI have improved their score since 2019, the region as a whole still performs below the TTDI average, with just under half of the 21 economies scoring above the mean. One of the most defining aspects of the region’s T&T is its rich endowment of nature. More than half of its economies score above the TTDI average for the Natural Resources pillar, nine are in the top 20 performers and five (in order of pillar scoring, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Canada and Colombia) among the top 10. These five, and a few others, also possess above-average cultural and non-leisure resources. On average, the region’s economies also have above-average tourist service infrastructure, price competitiveness and prioritization of T&T, although this varies greatly between constituent countries.
On the other hand, the region’s T&T sector faces many challenges, not least unfavourable enabling environments and, in particular, often poor business (especially outside of high-income economies) and safety and security conditions. In fact, half of the 20 lowest-ranking economies for safety and security globally come from Latin America. The region’s less developed economies require significant investment in mobility services and infrastructure, especially for ground transport, and a noticeable need to enhance international openness. The majority of economies in the Americas also need to tackle socioeconomic resilience and environmental sustainability issues.
The United States is the region’s top TTDI scorer (2nd) and accounts for the vast majority of the region’s T&T GDP. Outside of the United States, Canada (13th), Mexico (40th), Brazil (49th) and Argentina (59th) account for much of the remaining T&T GDP. Chile (34th) stands out as the top performer in South America, while Uruguay , which was the most T&T-dependent economy in the region in 2020, experienced the fastest rate of improvement (+3.6%, 61st to 55th).
The APAC region is the second-highest performer in the ranking. Of its 20 constituent economies, 12 score above the TTDI average and 13 have improved their score since 2019.
The region is large and diverse. It is home to some of the best combinations of natural, cultural and non-leisure resources, but environmental sustainability challenges threaten its lead in the former. Many of the more developed economies in APAC have world-class transport, tourism, healthcare and ICT infrastructure, high levels of international openness and investment in T&T, conducive business environments, high performance for socioeconomic resilience and qualified and productive workforces. On the other hand, the region’s less developed economies’ advantage in price competitiveness and rich natural assets are often offset by gaps in the aforementioned factors such as tourism, healthcare and ICT infrastructure, international openness and socioeconomic resilience. However, these gaps are being bridged somewhat as APAC’s lower- middle-income economies have improved their performance, with particularly strong growth in areas such as ICT readiness.
As mentioned, Japan is the top performer in both the APAC region and globally, with Australia (7th) and Singapore (9th) ranking in the global top 10. However, it is lower-middle-income economies such as Viet Nam (+4.7%, 60th to 52nd), Indonesia (+3.4%, 44th to 32nd) and Pakistan (+2.9%, 89th to 83rd) that have improved their TTDI scores the most since 2019. China, which ranks 12th on the TTDI, has the region’s largest T&T economy, while the Philippines, which depended the most on T&T for its GDP in 2020, ranks 75th. Although Japan and Singapore lead the ranking in the Eastern APAC and South-East Asia subregions, respectively, India (54th) is the top scorer in South Asia.
Europe and Eurasia
Europe remains the TTDI’s top-performing region, surpassing the global average in most pillars and being among the best positioned to grow in the coming years. Of the 43 regional economies covered in the index, 32 score above the global average and 18 have improved their score since 2019.
As a global economic and cultural centre, the region boasts some of the highest scores for cultural and non-leisure resources, travel to which is bolstered by, on average, a high degree of international openness and quality infrastructure, including the best ground and tourist service infrastructure. Operating in the region is also made easier by leading ICT and healthcare infrastructure and favourable business, security, human resource and labour markets, and socioeconomic conditions. Advantages in many of these categories are especially concentrated in the more economically developed Western, Southern and Northern Europe subregions. Moreover, the region’s international openness is based around members of the European Union and Schengen Area (the 26 European countries that have abolished passport control etc. on their mutual borders).
Countries in the Eurasia and Balkans and Eastern Europe subregions tend to be more price- competitive compared to their expensive western neighbours, while more tourism-dependent southern European states stand out for their prioritization of T&T, tourism infrastructure and natural resources. Overall, European economies do better than most in environmental sustainability, but they often have more limited natural resources, resulting in some of the lower marks for the T&T Demand Pressure and Impact pillar, which includes signs of unsustainable demand such as high rates of seasonality and shorter visitor stays.
Spain ranks highest in the region (3rd). However, France (4th), Germany (5th), Switzerland (6th), the United Kingdom (8th) and Italy (10th) all rank among the top 10 on the index. In 2020, Croatia (46th) and Albania (72nd) were most dependent on T&T for GDP, while Germany has the largest T&T economy.
Middle East and North Africa
While the MENA region underperforms the global TTDI average, results vary greatly based on the subregion and economic level of development. Overall, the region scores above average in eight pillars, with half of the dozen economies covered by the index scoring above average.
MENA’s high-income economies, all of which are based in the Middle East subregion, are typically defined by top-notch air transport, a significant presence of non-leisure resources such as major corporations, and overall favourable enabling environments, including business and human resource and labour markets and good ICT-readiness. On the other hand, North African economies, all of which are lower-middle- income, have gaps in air, tourist, health and ICT infrastructure and access to qualified labour. Yet they lead the region in price competitiveness and tend to prioritize and devote relatively more resources to T&T. To further develop their T&T sector, many MENA countries need to increase their international openness, invest more in ground services and tourist infrastructure and focus on promoting and establishing cultural and, in particular, natural attractions. The latter task will be hard to achieve without improving the region’s challenging environmental sustainability situation. Moreover, the region can significantly improve its skilled labour availability and resilience by addressing socioeconomic issues such as lagging social protection coverage, youth employment and training, workers’ rights and opportunities for women and minority groups.
The United Arab Emirates (25th) is the best TTDI performer in the region. However, since 2019, Saudi Arabia , which has the largest T&T economy in the region, has had the biggest leap in the rankings (+2.3%, 43rd to 33rd), while Egypt has had the second greatest percentage improvement (+4.3%, 57th to 51st) in the entire index. The United Arab Emirates is top scorer in the Middle East subregion, while Egypt is the top scorer in North Africa. In 2020, Qatar (43rd) and Tunisia (80th) were most dependent on T&T for GDP.
Sub-Saharan Africa (Africa) has had the greatest improvement in TTDI performance since 2019, with 17 out of the 21 regional countries covered by the index increasing their TTDI scores. Nevertheless, the region still lags behind other regions, undermining its great potential as a T&T economy.
Africa’s opportunity for tourism lies in several factors, not least of which are its price competitiveness and potential for nature tourism. However, several obstacles undermine T&T in the region. Government support for the sector could be improved via better data collection and marketing. In particular, nature tourism can be bolstered by higher-quality online promotion and increased focus on environmental sustainability. Additionally, travel to and within the region is hampered by underdeveloped infrastructure and limited international openness. Visitors might also be concerned by the region’s, on average, low health, hygiene, safety and security conditions. Lastly, unfavourable business, human resource and labour markets, and socioeconomic conditions all make T&T operations less viable.
Nevertheless, as already mentioned, many economies in the region are bridging these gaps. For instance, hard transport infrastructure continues to improve as indicated by the more positive perceptions of roads, railways and airports. Additionally, the region’s travel market is bound to benefit from improving international openness, which is bolstered by increasing intra-regional trade integration efforts such as the African Continental Free Trade Area. Africa also had the index’s fastest improvement in ICT readiness, making it easier to provide digital T&T services.
Mauritius (62nd) ranks the highest in the region. However, South Africa (68th) is the largest T&T economy in Africa. Meanwhile, Benin had the greatest improvement in TTDI score (+4.0%, 106th to 103rd) and Tanzania the greatest improvement in ranking (+2.6%, 86th to 81st). The top scorers in Eastern, Southern and Western Africa are Mauritius, South Africa and Cape Verde (82nd), respectively. The latter was also the most dependent of T&T for GDP in 2020.
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Encyclopedia of Tourism pp 1–2 Cite as
Regions – Tourism
- Josep A. Ivars Baidal 3
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A region is defined as a distinct part of the earth’s surface. A region’s boundary depends on many objectives and criteria. Three basic types can be differentiated: a homogeneous region, defined by a single dominating attribute such as primary economic activity; a functional region, unified by spatial interrelationships and flows; and a political-administrative region.
Various epistemological and disciplinary approaches are used for regional analysis (Entrikin 2011 ). The neo-Marxist perspective emphasizes the spatial organization resulting from production relationships; humanist schools of thought focus more on places as a source of cultural identification; neopositivist ideology supports the idea of a systemic region; postmodernists consider regions a historical process characterized by global interaction; and the relational turn of economic geography emphasizes the role of economic stakeholders, their actions, and interactions. More recently, this last approach favors a more dynamic...
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Dredge, D., and J. Jenkins. 2007. Tourism planning and policy . Melbourne: Wiley.
Entrikin, J. 2011. Region and Regionalism. In The SAGE handbook of geographical knowledge , ed. J. Agnew and Livingstone, 344–356. London: SAGE.
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Ivars Baidal, J.A. (2023). Regions – Tourism. In: Jafari, J., Xiao, H. (eds) Encyclopedia of Tourism. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01669-6_486-2
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01669-6_486-2
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Region 3, also known as Central Luzon, is a region in the Philippines that showcases a rich blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty. With its historical landmarks, vibrant festivals, and breathtaking landscapes, Region 3 offers an array of tourist spots that will leave you enthralled. Join us as we unveil the top 30 must-visit destinations in Region 3.
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Step into a miniature version of the Philippines at Nayong Pilipino in Clark. This cultural park showcases replicas of famous landmarks, cultural shows, traditional dances, and exhibits that celebrate the country's
Kamikaze East Airfield, Mabalacat, Pampanga
Pay tribute to the heroes of World War II at Kamikaze East Airfield, a historical site that served as a base for Japanese Kamikaze pilots during the war. Explore the remnants of the airfield and reflect on its significance in history.
Puning Cave and Hot Springs, Porac, Pampanga
Embark on a unique adventure at Puning Cave and Hot Springs. Explore the underground caves adorned with impressive rock formations and take a dip in the natural hot springs for a therapeutic and relaxing experience.
San Fernando Heritage District, San Fernando, Pampanga
Take a stroll through the San Fernando Heritage District, a charming area known for its well-preserved ancestral houses, Spanish-era buildings, and quaint streets. Immerse yourself in the city's rich history and architectural beauty.
Malolos Cathedral (Basilica Minore de la Nuestra Señora de Inmaculada Concepcion), Malolos City, Bulacan
Visit the historic Malolos Cathedral, also known as Basilica Minore de la Nuestra Señora de Inmaculada Concepcion. This majestic church is a significant landmark in Philippine history, as it served as the seat of the First Philippine Republic during the revolution against Spanish colonial rule. Admire its beautiful architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and experience the rich cultural and religious heritage of the region.
Mount Balungao, Balungao, Pangasinan
Embark on a nature adventure at Mount Balungao, a scenic mountain in Pangasinan. Hike to its summit for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, and indulge in the refreshing waters of Balungao Hot and Cold Springs afterward.
Barasoain Church, Malolos City, Bulacan
Visit the iconic Barasoain Church, a significant historical landmark and the site of the First Philippine Republic's inauguration. Marvel at its Spanish colonial architecture and explore the museum inside, which showcases artifacts from the Philippine Revolution.
With these top 30 tourist spots, Region 3 in the Philippines invites you to immerse yourself in its cultural heritage and natural wonders. From historical churches and festive celebrations to breathtaking landscapes and adventure-filled activities, this region offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler.
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Is It Safe to Travel to the Bahamas? Here’s What You Need to Know.
A string of gang-related murders in the local community prompted the U.S. embassy in the island nation to issue a security alert.
By Shannon Sims
Drawn by clear turquoise waters and miles of white-sand beaches, around seven million travelers visit the Bahamas each year, but a new warning about increased violence on the island nation has raised alarm over the safety of visiting there.
On Jan. 24, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, issued a security alert advising U.S. citizens “to be aware that 18 murders have occurred in Nassau since the beginning of 2024. Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets.”
The startling alert was unusual for the Bahamas. In addition to security alerts and other notices released by its embassies, the State Department issues travel advisories for countries to provide the suggested vigilance visitors should take. Currently, the Bahamas has a Level 2 (“Exercise increased caution”) warning.
Many tourism-reliant countries, including Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, currently have Level 2 warnings, and most travelers experience safe and enjoyable vacations. The tourism industry in the Bahamas contributes around 70 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and employs half the country’s work force.
Here’s what you need to know about the security alert and traveling to the Bahamas.
What prompted the alert in the Bahamas?
According to the State Department, “retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 murders,” and it is primarily affecting the local population, particularly on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands, where the cities of Nassau and Freeport are. The warnings mention that the violent crime has been occurring in both tourist and nontourist areas.
What does Level 2 mean?
To help advise Americans traveling to particular countries, the State Department employs a scale from 1 to 4 to indicate the local security situation, starting with the safest, Level 1. The levels can vary within a country, with certain areas considered a greater security risk than others.
According to the department’s website , Level 2 means, “Exercise increased caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.”
Many parts of the world are under Level 2 advisory, for reasons ranging from street crime to concerns over terrorism. The majority of visitors to those countries do not experience any danger — many are not even aware of the heightened risk indicated by the levels.
Level 3, by contrast, advises Americans to “reconsider” or “avoid” travel (countries such as Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan are now at Level 3). Level 4 means “Do not travel” and emphasizes that “during an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance.” Currently, Russia and Ukraine are among the countries with a Level 4 rating.
What about the rest of the region?
Currently, Turks and Caicos and Cuba are also Level 2 because of concerns over crime. Many areas of Mexico are under elevated warnings ranging from Level 2 (Mexico City) to Level 4 (Colima). On Jan. 23, Jamaica was raised to Level 3 because of crime and uneven medical care, with the State Department warning that “sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”
Aren’t there sharks in the Bahamas, too?
On Jan. 15, a 10-year-old boy was attacked by a shark while participating in a “shark experience” at a hotel on Paradise Island, according to the Royal Bahamas Police Force. He was reported to be in stable condition. Last month, an American woman died by shark attack while paddle-boarding in the Bahamas, the police said.
However, shark attacks are extremely rare in the Bahamas: The Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File indicates that there have only been 29 unprovoked attacks in the country since the 16th century.
How can I stay safe on my trip?
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau offers some guidance for staying safe , advising travelers to use “extreme caution” in the eastern part of New Providence Island — where Nassau is — especially “when walking or driving at night.” Specifically, the Over the Hill neighborhood , south of Shirley Street, should be avoided.
Travelers are also advised to take typical precautions and use common sense: to remain aware of their surroundings (leaving jewelry and electronics at home), to create a personal security plan, not to answer the door if you don’t know who it is and, if things go wrong, not to physically resist any robbery attempt. The U.S. government suggests staying especially vigilant if you’re staying at a short-term-rental property without a security presence, and women traveling alone may want to take special precautions .
Before traveling, consider obtaining traveler’s insurance, including a medical evacuation policy. Most foreign hospitals and doctors do not accept U.S. health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Another way to stay informed is to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program . The free program sends travelers updated information on security situations by email or text message, and makes it easier for a U.S. Embassy to contact you should an emergency arise.
Ultimately, travel comes down to a question of one’s personal comfort. If you interpret a Level 2 warning as sufficient reason to cancel your trip, there’s no shame in making a choice that eases your mind.
Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .
An earlier version of this story misstated that gang violence prompted the State Department to raise its travel advisory level for the Bahamas. The advisory was already at Level 2. The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas issued a security alert for the Bahamas, but the State Department did not raise the travel advisory in response to the violence.
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International tourism growth continues to outpace the global economy
- All Regions
- 20 Jan 2020
1.5 billion international tourist arrivals were recorded in 2019, globally. A 4% increase on the previous year which is also forecast for 2020, confirming tourism as a leading and resilient economic sector, especially in view of current uncertainties. By the same token, this calls for such growth to be managed responsibly so as to best seize the opportunities tourism can generate for communities around the world.
According to the first comprehensive report on global tourism numbers and trends of the new decade, the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, this represents the tenth consecutive year of growth.
All regions saw a rise in international arrivals in 2019. However, uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the collapse of Thomas Cook, geopolitical and social tensions and the global economic slowdown all contributed to a slower growth in 2019, when compared to the exceptional rates of 2017 and 2018. This slowdown affected mainly advanced economies and particularly Europe and Asia and the Pacific.
Looking ahead, growth of 3% to 4% is predicted for 2020, an outlook reflected in the latest UNWTO Confidence Index which shows a cautious optimism: 47% of participants believe tourism will perform better and 43% at the same level of 2019. Major sporting events, including the Tokyo Olympics, and cultural events such as Expo 2020 Dubai are expected to have a positive impact on the sector.
Presenting the results, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “in these times of uncertainty and volatility, tourism remains a reliable economic sector”. Against the backdrop of recently downgraded global economic perspectives, international trade tensions, social unrest and geopolitical uncertainty, “our sector keeps outpacing the world economy and calling upon us to not only grow but to grow better”, he added.
Given tourism’s position as a top export sector and creator of employment, UNWTO advocates the need for responsible growth. Tourism has, therefore, a place at the heart of global development policies, and the opportunity to gain further political recognition and make a real impact as the Decade of Action gets underway, leaving just ten years to fulfill the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Middle East leads
The Middle East has emerged as the fastest-growing region for international tourism arrivals in 2019, growing at almost double the global average (+8%). Growth in Asia and the Pacific slowed down but still showed above-average growth, with international arrivals up 5%.
Europe where growth was also slower than in previous years (+4%) continues to lead in terms of international arrivals numbers, welcoming 743 million international tourists last year (51% of the global market). The Americas (+2%) showed a mixed picture as many island destinations in the Caribbean consolidated their recovery after the 2017 hurricanes while arrivals fell in South America due partly to ongoing social and political turmoil. Limited data available for Africa (+4%) points to continued strong results in North Africa (+9%) while arrivals in Sub-Saharan Africa grew slower in 2019 (+1.5%).
Tourism spending still strong
Against a backdrop of global economic slowdown, tourism spending continued to grow, most notably among the world’s top ten spenders. France reported the strongest increase in international tourism expenditure among the world’s top ten outbound markets (+11%), while the United States (+6%) led growth in absolute terms, aided by a strong dollar.
However, some large emerging markets such as Brazil and Saudi Arabia reported declines in tourism spending. China, the world’s top source market saw outbound trips increase by 14% in the first half of 2019, though expenditure fell 4%.
Tourism delivering ‘much-needed opportunities’
“The number of destinations earning US$1 billion or more from international tourism has almost doubled since 1998,” adds Mr Pololikashvili. “The challenge we face is to make sure the benefits are shared as widely as possible and that nobody is left behind. In 2020, UNWTO celebrates the Year of Tourism and Rural Development , and we hope to see our sector lead positive change in rural communities, creating jobs and opportunities, driving economic growth and preserving culture.”
This latest evidence of the strength and resilience of the tourism sector comes as the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary . During 2020, through the UN75 initiative the UN is carrying out the largest, most inclusive conversation on the role of global cooperation in building a better future for all, with tourism to be high on the agenda.
- Download Excerpt of World Tourism Barometer, January 2020 (PDF)
- UNWTO World Tourism Barometer Nº18 January 2020
- Tourism in the 2030 Agenda
- Presentation (PDF)
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Politics and Current Affairs
Dot: region 3 tourism is vibrant.
CENTRAL Luzon’s tourism industry remains vibrant as arrivals in the region reached 3.9 million in the year 2022, which is largely higher than the two million in 2021, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).
In a statement, DoT Regional Director Richard Daenos disclosed that apart from domestic performance, Region 3 recorded foreign arrivals including 267,848 from the United States; 32,944 from China; 17,509 from South Korea; 2,856 from Japan; 1,292 from the United Arab Emirates; 655 from India; 658 from Thailand; 582 from Malaysia; 530 from Singapore; and 524 from Hong Kong.
He said the region’s booming tourism sector was a product of improved gateway access, whether land routes or air flights.
“These [figures] mean that it (tourism) is very vibrant right now. It is evident that we have a good location here in Central Luzon. In our international flights, we have nine foreign and two local carriers operating in Clark,” Daenos added.
Air flights increased when the Clark International Airport opened its new passenger terminal building where all flights were transferred to the modern state-of-the-art facility envisioned to be Asia’s next premier gateway.
The airport offers certain international and domestic destinations as people from elsewhere participate in “revenge tourism” and rush to travel during the post-Covid 19 pandemic.
“Our kababayans are very excited to explore the beauty of the Philippines again. This is why we, in the DoT, are keenly intensifying plans to increase the figures [on tourist arrivals] more,” Daenos said.
Meanwhile, the DoT is also beefing up the provision of capacity-building activities for frontline tourism workers in Central Luzon through the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence (FBSE) education and training.
FBSE is a nationwide campaign that aims to highlight Filipino hospitality as one of the greatest strengths of Philippine tourism that could enhance the overall tourist experience and strategically position the country as a center for hospitality excellence in Asia.
“We give highlight on what is the Filipino way. This is a project to showcase how warm the Filipinos are in welcoming tourists… We showcase what the Philippines has, and how we show this beauty through services and the way we welcome them,” he explained.
About 5,783 tourism workers in the region completed the FBSE training as of May 19 and the target is to train 100,000 professionals and members of community-based sustainable tourism organizations, teachers and students of tourism and hospitality programs, government personnel from national and local government units, and tourist-oriented police. It also engages those who are working in tourism-related enterprises and services such as restaurants, retail, ticketing, transportation, and pasalubong (gift) centers.
Moreover, DoT has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry for the development of local products to be offered to tourists and is also working with the Philippine National Police for the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection program to ensure the safety and security of international and domestic visitors in the country’s tourist destinations.
Livelihood opportunities are also offered by the DoT in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment for the Trabaho, Turismo, and Asenso! program to further assist local job seekers and make job searching a more seamless experience.
Source: Jerry M. Hernandez – The Manila Times | May 27, 2023
May 28, 2023
Department of Tourism , Philippine Tourism , Region 3
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Region III of the Philippines
Planning a trip? Those who love to travel know the essence of all travel is about you and your enjoyment. Travelers know that the destination is a major part of planning a trip, experiencing and delving deeper into unfamiliar places, people and culture are paramount.
Expand your horizons and set your sight to the Philippines, an off the beaten path travel site! An undiscovered paradise made of thousands of islands and white sand beaches all around! A tiny dot in the map of the world, and yet a haven for travelers, backpackers, retirees and even passersby.
It offers awesome tourist attractions, magnificent beaches, hot spring resorts, colorful festivals, hundreds of scenic spots and world-class hotels and facilities. Not to mention the tropical climate, the affordable prices as well as the friendly and hospitable, English-speaking people! You will be glad you came, and we’re sure, you WILL come back for more FUN in the Philippines!
THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES
Region iii – central luzon.
( Near the red star in the map above. )
Region III (Central Luzon) consists of 7 provinces. They are found in the island of Luzon:
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- Cotabato City is Neither North Nor South Cotabato
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About Central Luzon
Central Luzon is located north of Manila, it is the access region to the regions of Ilocos, Cordilleras, and Cagayan Valley. It is the only region that meets both east and west of the country, it is surrounded by Manila Bay to the south, South China Sea to the west and The Philippine Sea to the east.
It has a total land area of 21, 470 square kilometers and is home to the seven (7) provinces namely: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.
It has also three (3) Freeport zones namely: Clark, Subic and Freeport Area of Bataan.
Central Luzon is accessible thru air, land and sea. BY AIR – It has now the very busy Clark International Airport, which is connected to a lot of the major cities in the world with direct flights to the key airports in Asia and Middle East. BY SEA – Subic Bay Freeport Zone is now the hub for Cruise Tourism as bigger cruise ships such as Costa Atlantica, Royal Carribean Cruise and World Dream are again scheduled to dock for two (2) days in Subic Port next year. Not to mention other cruise ships coming. BY LAND – Lastly, it is easily accessible by land whether you are coming from the north or south of Luzon, it is connected to expressways such as the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
Region III otherwise known as the Central Luzon Region is very rich in cultural resources. The diversity of the region’s cultural resources is evident on the existence of festivals, folk arts and crafts, cuisine, historical and archaeological sites, and its indigenous people.
Clark freeport and special economic zone, freeport area of bataan, subic bay freeport zone.
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Explore more of Central Luzon's Finest
Central Luzon was among the first to be colonized in the Philippines under the Spanish regime. The colonization led to the establishment of mission stations, resettlement areas, fortresses, churches and other structures that are now considered as historical landmarks of the region.
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Black summer bushfires wiped $2.8 billion from tourism supply chains
Impact of Black Summer bushfires
Vivienne Reiner explains
A first of its kind study of the 2019-2020 ‘Black Summer’ bushfires in Australia has revealed that the tourism industry nationwide took an immediate hit of $2.8 billion in total output to its broader supply chains and almost 7300 jobs disappearing nationwide.
The fires four years ago triggered widespread tourism shutdowns in many parts of the country in the lead up to the peak Christmas and New Year season, resulting in $1.7 billion direct losses to the tourism industry, which triggered the larger drop in supply chain output.
“These results are an illustration of what can be expected in the future not only in Australia, but in other nations that are vulnerable to climate-change driven disasters,” said Vivienne Reiner, a PhD student with the Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis in the Faculty of Science and lead author of the study, published in Economics of Disasters and Climate Change .
Lead author Vivienne Reiner.
“It’s important to note that our study, which measured tourism’s losses through Australian supply chains, did not quantify other economic costs, such as the supply-chain impacts of losses from agriculture or forestry, which were also substantially impacted by the fires,” said Ms Reiner also of the Sydney Envirionment Institute .
While the fires had the biggest impact on Australia’s east coast, the impact from tourism losses was national and felt across the economy, the researchers found.
“Tourism is a vital Australian industry. Before the fires that started in 2019, statistics showed that in rural areas 8 percent, or almost one in 12 people, were employed in jobs connected to the tourism industry,” Ms Reiner said. “As well, tourism is a top export, with travel services responsible for more export income than natural gas in 2018-19. 1 ”
Associate Professor Arunima Malik , a co-author who heads the Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis and is also affiliated with the Business School , said: “With bushfires increasing compared to other natural disasters and expected to intensify due to climate change, it is important for countries such as Australia to quantify their economic impact as part of routine practice, including supply-chain spillovers.”
Co-author Professor Manfred Lenzen , also with ISA in the School of Physics, said: “Although the losses we calculated only represented a small fraction of the nation’s economic output, Australia’s reputation as a pristine destination could become permanently damaged under global warming, with fewer people travelling within and to Australia in our peak holiday season.”
The research showed varied impact nationwide across the supply chain, including in job losses:
New South Wales: 3171 jobs Victoria: 1430 jobs Queensland: 1499 jobs South Australia: 516 jobs Western Australia: 479 jobs Tasmania: 13 jobs Australian Capital Territory: 110 jobs Northern Territory: 75 jobs.
The researchers warn that the Australian economy could face further losses as the effects from climate change increase.
Ms Reiner said: “As part of the Asia Pacific – the world’s most disaster-prone region – Australian tourism has a lot to gain from climate-change mitigation. In terms of responses, studies such as ours also help indicate hotspots in supply chains where rebuilding may be required in communities and industries.
“By including the entire supply chain in our research, using input-output analysis, we calculated total output losses of $2.8 billion, which is a 61 percent increase on direct damages identified.”
1 'Education-related travel services’ plus ‘Personal travel (excl education) travel services’. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2020 Note: Tourism is broadly defined including by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as encompassing travellers' activities in a place, other than their usual environment, for less than one year.
‘Wish you were here? The economic impact of the tourism shutdown from Australia’s 2019-20 Black summer bushfires’, Reiner, V. et al. ( Economics of Disaster and Climate Change ) DOI: 10.1007/s41885-024-00142-8
The study was a collaboration between the University of Sydney and University of Queensland.
The authors declare no competing interests. Research was in part funded by the Australian Research Council and the University of Sydney. Manfred Lenzen receives funding from the Hanse-Wissenschaftkolleg in Germany through its HWK Fellowships.
Read the research
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What are the advantages of tourism?
Enhanced Economic Growth
Preservation of cultural heritage, environmental benefits, stimulated infrastructure development, social and cultural exchange, boost to local communities, 1. how does tourism benefit the economy of a region, 2. can tourism help in preserving cultural heritage, 3. what environmental benefits does tourism bring, 4. how does tourism contribute to infrastructure development, 5. what social and cultural advantages does tourism offer, 6. how does tourism benefit local communities, 7. can tourism have negative impacts, 8. how does tourism impact the hospitality industry, 9. does tourism promote peace and understanding, 10. how can communities make the most of tourism, 11. what role does social media play in promoting tourism, 12. how does medical tourism contribute to the advantages of tourism.
Tourism is a global phenomenon that continues to flourish, attracting millions of travelers each year. It brings numerous advantages to both tourists and the destinations they visit. So, what are the advantages of tourism? Let’s delve into the topic.
Tourism plays a vital role in boosting the economy of a region. When travelers venture to different destinations, they spend money on various goods and services. This expenditure stimulates local businesses, creates job opportunities, and generates revenue for both the public and private sectors. From hotels, restaurants, and transportation to souvenir shops and guided tours, the tourism industry supports a wide range of businesses, sustaining livelihoods and contributing to economic growth.
One of the significant advantages of tourism is its contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage. When people travel to different regions, they have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local traditions and customs. This exposure not only enriches their experiences but also generates awareness and appreciation for diverse cultures. As a result, there is a greater demand for the preservation of historical landmarks, traditions, and customs, leading to the conservation of cultural heritage for future generations.
Contrary to popular belief, tourism can also have positive environmental impacts. Many travelers are motivated to visit destinations with rich natural landscapes, which encourages the conservation and preservation of these areas. As tourist destinations strive to attract visitors, they often implement sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emissions, promoting wildlife conservation, and preserving natural resources. In this way, tourism serves as a catalyst for environmental awareness and protection, ensuring the sustainability of these pristine environments.
Tourism can act as a catalyst for infrastructure development in various regions. To accommodate the needs of travelers, destinations often invest in improving their transportation systems, building new hotels, enhancing public facilities, and upgrading local amenities. This development not only benefits tourists but also improves the quality of life for the local population. From improved roads and airports to better healthcare and education facilities, tourism drives infrastructure advancements that benefit both visitors and residents.
One of the most enriching aspects of tourism is the opportunity for social and cultural exchange. As people from different regions and backgrounds interact, there is a sharing of knowledge, perspectives, and experiences. Travelers have the chance to learn about new cultures, traditions, and languages, fostering tolerance, understanding, and global unity. Additionally, tourism can promote peace and harmony by breaking down barriers and creating connections between people from all walks of life.
Tourism provides a source of income and employment for local communities, particularly in developing regions. The influx of tourists creates job opportunities across various sectors, from hospitality and tourism management to local crafts and entertainment. This economic boost helps to alleviate poverty, empower communities, and improve their standard of living. Additionally, tourists often support local businesses, purchasing locally-made products and engaging in community-based activities, which further contributes to the socio-economic development of the region.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Advantages of Tourism
The tourism industry stimulates economic growth by generating revenue, supporting local businesses, and creating job opportunities. Travelers spending money on various goods and services contribute to the economic prosperity of the region.
Absolutely! Tourism plays a significant role in preserving cultural heritage by promoting awareness, appreciation, and demand for diverse traditions, customs, and landmarks.
Tourism encourages the conservation of natural landscapes and resources as travelers are often drawn to destinations with rich environmental attractions. This drives sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emissions and promoting wildlife conservation.
To cater to the needs of tourists, destinations invest in improving transportation systems, building hotels, and upgrading public facilities. This development enhances the quality of life for both visitors and the local population.
Tourism promotes social and cultural exchange, fostering tolerance, understanding, and global unity. Travelers learn about new cultures, traditions, and languages, creating connections among people from diverse backgrounds.
Tourism provides income and job opportunities for local communities, particularly in developing regions, helping to alleviate poverty, empower communities, and improve their standard of living.
While tourism has numerous advantages, it can also have negative impacts such as overcrowding, environmental degradation, and cultural commodification. Sustainable tourism practices are necessary to mitigate these negative effects.
The tourism industry is closely linked to the hospitality sector. The demand for accommodation, restaurants, and entertainment facilities significantly increases due to tourism, resulting in growth and expansion of the hospitality industry.
Yes, tourism encourages peace and understanding by bridging cultural gaps, fostering connections, and promoting mutual respect among people from different regions and backgrounds.
Communities can maximize the benefits of tourism by investing in infrastructure, promoting sustainable practices, preserving cultural heritage, and actively engaging with tourists to provide authentic and meaningful experiences.
Social media platforms have revolutionized tourism marketing, allowing destinations to showcase their unique offerings to a worldwide audience. This digital presence helps attract tourists and promote the advantages of visiting a particular region.
Medical tourism combines healthcare and travel, attracting individuals seeking medical treatments abroad. This form of tourism can bring economic benefits to the destination, boost local healthcare industries, and enhance cross-cultural understanding.
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