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Which countries travel the most?

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

Who are the most adventurous when it comes to travelling? A new study ranks the world’s most well-travelled countries.

According to Timetric’s new data, Scandinavians travel the most, with the 4 Nordic countries all in the top 5. The Finns top the chart with an average of 7.5 trips per person a year, followed by Sweden (6), Denmark (5.3) and Norway (5.2).

Finnish landscape

According to Arnie van Groesen, travel and tourism analyst at Timetric, the reason why Scandies travel so much comes down to money, weather and holiday traditions: “People in Scandinavia can afford more trips due to high incomes and relatively low unemployment rates. Cost of living is relatively expensive in Scandinavian countries, meaning that if they go abroad they’ll often get more value for money. The weather conditions make them attracted to less severe conditions in the southern part of the world, such as the Spanish beaches.” Furthermore, lots of Scandinavian people own second holiday homes and love to spend time in these so called “summer houses” in the country or by the sea. The Norwegians make 2 international trips per year on average, which is the highest in Europe.

The US is world’s largest domestic tourism market

The average American takes 6.7 trips a year. The large majority of these are domestic trips, making the US the largest domestic tourism market in the world in volume terms. International travel is very limited. Only 1 out of 5 Americans make an international trip a year and less than half of Americans own a passport.

New-Orleans-Louisiana

According to van Groesen, “going abroad is costly and the US is such a vast country it doesn’t lack of things to see and do.” Visiting friends and family is the main reason for domestic trips, as many Americans are living in a different state than where they grew up making it natural for them to travel back multiple times a year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas being peak periods. Another thing worth a note is travelling culture and the amount of time spent abroad. According to van Groesen, many Americans, and other more excluded parts of the world, such as Australia, prefer to take longer and fewer trips abroad. Another reason why Americans prefer domestic trips is because of the low number of holidays. The Americans don’t have any minimum rights of paid holidays and are often not allowed to take all their holidays at once. Across Europe, employers are entitled to an average minimum of 22 days paid holidays in 2013, excluding the number of public holidays.

Other countries worth a note

Hong Kong is the sixth most well-travelled country in the world. Although domestic tourism is almost nonexistent (0.03), the average Hongkongese takes 4.3 outbound trips a year, 74% of these to China. Mexico ranks surprisingly high, performing better than all the BRIC countries, especially domestic tourism is very popular with 1.7 domestic trips a year. The total numbers for the BRIC countries are impressive, however the ratios show that there is still room for growth. Although China has the highest amount of total outbound trips (97.3 million trips in 2013), their ratio is very low: The majority of the Chinese population don't take international trips at all. Those who do, however, travel frequently. As a result of the share size of the country, the number of outbound trips is deemed to be equally high.

All trips in this study are overnight trips. Mode of transport can be everything (air, land, water, rail). All numbers are from 2013. The study was conducted in September 2014. Outbound trips = All overnight trips abroad. Domestic trips = All overnight trips within their own country.

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