5 countries suffering the biggest tourism revenue losses amid the coronavirus pandemic

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The coronavirus crisis has hampered international travel for the past 10 months and countries all over the world are feeling the effects. Using data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and The World Bank, visa waiver processing firm Official ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) recently revealed the countries with the biggest tourism revenue loss due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The past year has been extremely difficult for the travel and tourism industry, with the unpredictable circumstances resulting in countries being forced to close their borders to tourists, often with little notice. As a result, the pandemic has had a huge financial impact on tourism globally, affecting all countries around the world, as well as airlines, travel operators and other hospitality providers in the sector,” Jayne Forrester, Director of International Development at Official ESTA, said in a statement.

“As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, with vaccine rollouts now getting underway around the world, we can only hope that we can regain some control over the pandemic and ensure that it is safe enough for us to travel once more in order to prevent further losses to one of the largest industries in the world.” 

Here’s a look at how the top countries rank in terms of the total number of tourism dollars lost over the first ten months of 2020.

A view of fireworks and confetti during the countdown at the 2021 New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square on December 31, 2020 in New York City. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

United States

The U.S. has reported more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other country in the world as of January 2021. What’s more, the U.S. has experienced the biggest tourism revenue loss due to the pandemic, missing out on a remarkable $147.245 billion in the first ten months of 2020. Many states have cracked down on travel in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 but the country as a whole has also implemented bans on travel from key markets, including Europe. 


Spain hosted fewer than 20 million foreign visitors in 2020 and saw the largest tourism revenue loss of any European country at $46,707 million, Official ESTA determined. The country reopened to travelers from other EU and Schengen-area countries this past summer but is still off-limits to many travelers, including Americans. 

A sign in front of the Eiffel Tower announces its closure to visitors following guidance from the French government.
(ChesnotGetty Images)


The world’s most visited country, France typically hosts more than 89 million tourists each year. However, the COVID-19 crisis caused that figure to decline dramatically in 2020, resulting in a total tourism revenue loss of $42.036 billion over the first 10 months of the year. Spain and France aren’t alone, however, as a total of five European countries rank inside the top 10. 

Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram in Bankgok — also known as the Marble Temple — is one of Thailand’s biggest tourist attractions.


Thailand has begun safely and slowly reopening to international travelers and that’s welcome news for the country’s economy, as the Asian hotspot has seen a $37.504 billion loss in tourism revenue due to the ongoing pandemic. The figure is the highest among any country in Asia, according to Official ESTA’s latest report.


Germany’s $34.641 billion in total tourism revenue losses from January 2020 to October 2020 is the fifth-most in the world and trails only Spain and France in Europe. The country lifted restrictions on travel from nearby nations back in June but remains closed to many travelers, including those visiting from the U.S. and U.K., which will be paramount to the country’s tourism recovery. 

For five more countries experiencing the biggest revenue losses, continue reading this story as it was originally published at TravelPulse.

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