Tourism: Exploring the World, the Popular Trend

Posted on May 12, 2019

Project GitHub | LinkedIn:   Niki   Moritz   Hao-Wei   Matthew   Oren

The skills we demoed here can be learned through taking Data Science with Machine Learning bootcamp with NYC Data Science Academy.


Exploring the world has become an extremely popular trend in today's society. People are increasingly using their time off from work to travel the world and immerse themselves in different cultures. With the increase in travel over the years, the tourism industry has blossomed and become one of the trademark businesses throughout the world. In 2017 the tourism industry generated about $1.5 Trillion in total receipts, that's over a 200% increase over the past 20 years. I love to travel myself, so I built the R Shiny App to be able to look at tourism trends over the past few years and see which countries are becoming increasingly popular. The app also takes a dive into the economics of tourism to explore which countries rely on tourism as part of their economy.

You can access my World Tourism app here. Also provided is the link to my github.


The dataset for my app is from the World Bank and is comprised of 9 different datasets on tourism from 1995-2017. The World Bank is an organization striving to end world poverty by helping to finance projects in developing countries. They also provide support in the form of policy advice, research and analysis, and technical assistance. The last tab in the app acts as a databank where you can filter through different countries, regions, and years to inspect the tourism trends. Some important features I focused on were the arrivals and total receipts. On the bottom of that tab you can find definitions on the different features of the data. Tidyr was extremely useful in the data cleaning process to gather the different years into one column. Below you can find a screenshot of the databank tab.


Finding the Trending Countries

The second tab in my app, "Number of Tourists", analyzes the numbers on tourism throughout the years. The first sub-tab "World" shows how tourism has increased over the years. Since 1995 there has been an increase of about 156% of people traveling every year and in 2017 a total of about 1.3 billion people traveled internationally. Also shown on the page are the countries that people have traveled to the most in 2017. This list includes France, Spain, and the USA, which have combined to have about 245 million tourists arriving in 2017, that's already about 19% of all tourists traveling in 2017 only from 3 countries. The real question we're looking to find out is which countries are increasingly becoming more popular.

If we take a look at the second sub-tab "Countries" we take a deeper dive into how individual country's tourism has been trending over the years. Here we can see which countries have increased the most in tourism over specific time periods. Although France, Spain, and USA attract the most tourists, their increases over the years have become quite stagnant compared to other countries. If we take a look at the last five years (2012-2017) we can see that countries like Cote d'Ivoire(522%), Japan(243%), and Iceland(230%) have had the highest increases in tourists. This is a great indicator that these countries are becoming more and more popular over the years. Both Cote d'Ivoire and Iceland had less than 3 million tourists in 2017 so these tourist spots are still not well known yet. Now is the time to travel to those countries for cheap before they become overrun with tourists!

On the other hand, countries like Venezuela(-56%), Angola(-50%), and San Marino (-43%) have actually decreased in tourism over the past 5 years. This could be an indicator to avoid these countries for traveling. 


Tourism Business

With this increase in tourism over the years, the tourism industry has started benefitting countries on an economic level. The next tab on the app, "Tourism by the Dollar", explores the impacts of tourism on the world economy. In the first sub-tab "Receipts", we take a look at the money countries are bringing in from tourism over the years. Tourism receipts are broken up into two categories: transport and travel. Transport comprises the dollars spent on transportation including flights, trains, etc. and travel comprises the dollars spent while touring the country including food, consumer goods, hospitality, etc. We are able to see that in 2017, USA made a substantial amount more than any other country at about $251 billion dollars, followed by France and Spain who made about $70 billion and $68 billion respectively. Although these countries are bringing in a lot of money, is it really impacting their economy?

On the next sub-tab, "Tourism Impact", we can see what proportion of tourism receipts is to a country's exports. In a sense, tourism is considered an export because countries are exporting tourism to incoming travelers. In this tab I created a new data feature called "Ratio_Exports" by dividing a country's total receipt from tourism by their exports. With this new data we can see which countries rely heavily on their tourism business. Although USA makes the most money from tourism, that only comprises about 10% of their export economy. In 2017, Macao(88%) and Maldives(87.7%) are at the top of that last. Macao is a small country in Southeast Asia with the nickname "Las Vegas of Asia" for its multitude of casino, malls, and nightclubs. Maldives is a small island South of India known for its honeymoon-esque resorts and beaches. It's no wonder that both countries rely heavily on their tourism as part of their economy. With this new data point, we can see how countries will benefit the most from this increase in world tourism.

Conclusion and Future Work

In conclusion, we're able to find the trending tourism countries and understand the importance of tourism in different countries while using this app. In future work, I'd like to explore the different tourist attractions in countries. Why are some countries more popular than others? Is it the beaches? Historical importance? Food? Cost? Continue to follow along with future updates to the app. Below I've added a few pictures from my own travels. Enjoy!

About Author

Quoc Nguyen

Quoc graduated from Cornell University in 2015 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and continued to obtain his M.Eng in Engineering Management in 2016. As a professional, Quoc worked at Skanska, an international construction and development group, for...
View all posts by Quoc Nguyen >

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