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5 fastest growing tourism destinations in 2024

5 fastest growing tourism destinations in 2024

Several countries have emerged as the fastest-growing tourism destinations, each boasting unique attractions and significant increases in tourist volume.

In Q1 2024, Asia welcomed 82% of the international tourists compared to Q1 2019. The resurgence of tourism in China has also contributed to the region’s tourism growth.

Initially heavily impacted by COVID-19, China has relaxed many travel restrictions imposed since January 2020. Moreover, China has implemented visa-free entry policies for various EU nations, as well as countries like Malaysia and Thailand.

In contrast, the Asia-Pacific region has struggled to rebuild its tourism industry, with international tourist arrivals in 2023 reaching only 65% of pre-pandemic levels. Conversely, Europe, the Americas, and Africa managed to recover to at least 90% of their 2019 tourist volumes.

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Data highlights the uneven global recovery in tourism. Remarkably, the Middle East emerged as the first region to surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2023, hosting 87.1 million international tourists, a 22% increase from 2019.

Notably, tourism volumes in the Middle East continued to soar in Q1 2024, with a 36% increase in international tourists compared to Q1 2019.

Utilizing UNWTO’s data on international tourist arrivals, Yahoo Finance compared figures for Q1 2024 and the full year 2023 with those of 2019. Countries hosting less than 1 million international tourists in either 2019 or 2023 were excluded from the analysis. This methodology helped identify countries with the highest growth in tourist arrivals.

Here are 5 fastest growing tourism destinations in 2024

Qatar — score: 9.16

Qatar — score 9.16

Qatar lead as the fastest-growing travel destination in 2024. In the first quarter of 2024, the country’s tourist volume was 177% greater than in the first quarter of 2019. In 2023, the tourist volume was 89% greater than in 2019.

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Qatar hosted over 4 million international tourists in 2023, largely driven by high-profile sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup 2022 and Formula One. The first four months of 2024 saw Qatar welcoming over 2 million international tourists, with Doha, the capital city, being a major draw. The tourism boom has also attracted significant interest from major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., and MSC Cruises, all offering trips to Qatar’s shores.

Albania — score of 6.92

Albania — score of 6.92

Albania has emerged as a top destination for travelers in 2024. The country saw its tourist volume in the first quarter of 2024 increase by 121% compared to Q1 2019, and the 2023 tourist volume was 56% higher than in 2019.

Albania stands out as an ideal destination for budget-conscious travelers and those seeking to explore Europe. The country boasts several world heritage sites, a rich array of contemporary architecture, and vibrant beach towns. Its affordability and diverse attractions have significantly contributed to the substantial increase in tourist volume, making Albania a compelling choice for travelers this year.

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Saudi Arabia — score: 6.36

Saudi Arabia — score 6.36

In Q1 2024, Saudi Arabia saw a tourist volume that was 98% greater than in Q1 2019, and throughout 2023, the tourist volume was 56% greater than in 2019.

This rapid growth in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is driven by the country’s significance in the Muslim world and substantial government investments aimed at enhancing tourism infrastructure. Key cities such as Jeddah and Riyadh have become central to this expansion. With an ambitious goal to attract 70 million international tourists by 2030, Saudi Arabia is making significant strides in the global tourism arena.

Salvador — score: 5.75

El Salvador — score 5.75

El Salvador saw a 90% increase in tourist volume in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2019, and a 40% increase for the entire year of 2023 compared to 2019.

known for its active volcanic landscapes, has experienced a significant increase in tourism. Despite a US travel advisory cautioning citizens to reconsider traveling to El Salvador, the country’s unique geographical features continue to attract adventurous tourists. This growing interest has contributed to El Salvador’s rising popularity as a travel destination.

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Bulgaria — score: 5.01

Bulgaria — score 5.01

In the first quarter of 2024, Bulgaria experienced a remarkable surge in tourism, with a tourist volume that was 38% greater than in Q1 2019. Additionally, the total tourist volume for 2023 soared to 62 percent higher than the figures recorded in 2019.

Though encountering political challenges and a decline in international tourists before the pandemic, Bulgaria has successfully rebounded in the tourism sector. Initially, the country’s exit from the EU in 2020 hurt tourism. However, Bulgaria’s recent inclusion in the Schengen Area has breathed new life into its tourism industry. This revitalization has driven significant growth, making Bulgaria an increasingly attractive destination in 2024.