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Countries most dependent on tourism

  • #30. The Gambia

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $225.6 million (20.2% of total GDP; 55.3% increase since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 109,700 (17% of total jobs)

    The pandemic was just the latest in a string of blows to tourism in the Gambia, which had already been suffering from political unrest, cases of Ebola, and the bankruptcy of a major travel operator. The country is now getting help from the United Nations to protect the livelihoods of people who work in tourism and other hard-hit sectors.

  • #29. Greece

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $41.8 billion (20.2% of total GDP; 55.7% increase since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 987,200 (25.4% of total jobs)

    Doctors and politicians have accused the Greek government of falsifying the number of coronavirus cases in an effort to protect its tourism industry, report Yannis-Orestis Papadimitriou and Nick Squires of The Telegraph. Ernst & Young estimates the country, which is known for its high-end island destinations and fascinating ruins, will suffer $11.8 billion in losses due to a slowdown in tourism this year.

  • #28. Kiribati

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $40 million (20.9% of total GDP; 85.6% increase since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 5,300 (17.3% of total jobs)

    Kiribati had no COVID-19 cases as of Aug. 24, 2020. Travelers who wish to see the far-flung country’s pristine beaches during the pandemic will need to adhere to Kiribati’s strict entry requirements, which may include quarantining, based on information from the U.S. government.

  • #27. Philippines

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $70.3 billion (21.1% of total GDP; 77.6% increase since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 8.3 million (19.1% of total jobs)

    Data from the Philippine Tourism Survey shows that nearly nine in 10 tourism operators in the country expect their 2020 revenues to plummet by more than 50% due to the pandemic, but are optimistic that figures will improve in 2021. The country is popular among travelers for its verdant rice fields, lively cities, water buffalo, and tropical islands.

  • #26. Thailand

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $102.1 billion (22.1% of total GDP; 41.4% increase since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 6.2 million (16.1% of total jobs)

    The Thai capital of Bangkok welcomed more travelers than any other city in the world in 2019, according to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index. The Tourism Council of Thailand expects the number of foreign arrivals to plummet by 80% this year.

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  • #25. Cyprus

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $5 billion (23.1% of total GDP; 14.8% decrease since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 88,600 (23.3% of total jobs)

    The lack of tourism during the COVID-19 crisis has pushed the economy of Cyprus into a severe recession, reports the Cyprus Mail. Before the pandemic, the Eastern Mediterranean country was a hot spot for tourists who wanted to explore archeological sites, like the Tombs of the Kings.

  • #24. Grenada

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $262.7 million (23.3% of total GDP; 0.3% increase since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 10,500 (21.5% of total jobs)

    Grenada is eager for the return of tourists. To encourage people to come visit the three-island nation’s white sandy beaches, its tourism agency launched a campaign all about its attractions and health and safety initiatives in August. More than 1,800 tourism operators in the country have received training from the health ministry to protect travelers against COVID-19.

  • #23. Mauritius

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3.2 billion (23.4% of total GDP; 4% decrease since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 130,500 (22.4% of total jobs)

    The tourism industry of Mauritius has been dealt a one-two punch this year. Not only are arrival numbers down due to COVID-19, but it also suffered an oil spill from a Japanese carrier just off its shore. The disaster could prove extremely harmful to the wildlife and ecosystems that draw travelers to the country, writes Chris Heitzig of the Brookings Institution.

  • #22. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $193.7 million (23.9% of total GDP; 18.2% decrease since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 9,700 (22% of total jobs)

    While St. Vincent and the Grenadines might not be as famous as other parts of the Caribbean, it may be instantly recognizable to fans of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which filmed some scenes there. The country reopened to visitors on July 1, albeit with some new health and safety requirements.

  • #21. São Tomé and Príncipe

    - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $106.1 million (24.1% of total GDP; 226.1% increase since 1998)
    - Jobs reliant on tourism: 14,800 (23.5% of total jobs)

    Dubbed by CNN’s Eoghan Macguire as “Africa’s heaven on Earth,” São Tomé and Príncipe is known for its rich biodiversity and charming capital. The country saw an abrupt halt to tourism due to the pandemic in mid-March and is now suffering from economic challenges as a result, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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