Top travelling nations identified

Get Going travel insurance looks at the most travelled nations and most popular destinations. China, USA, Germany and the UK lead the way for source of travellers. Most travel is to nearby countries with similar cultures.

A recent study estimated the global expenditure on tourism to be just short of US$1.5 trillion, with cheap flights and rising economies broadening the horizons of many. Get Going travel insurance has issued an in-depth look at the most travelled nations and most popular destinations.

While none of the report’s figures are specifically for medical and health tourists the results reinforce recent research that suggests that most tourists, and also most medical and health tourists, travel most to nearby countries with similar cultures.

Top travelling nations

  • Aided by their population size, the rise of tourism in China has been significant with an estimated spending of over a quarter of a trillion dollars. This figure exceeds the expenditure for the US and Germany combined.
  • Ranking 2nd in the global list for outbound travel, the US have upped their annual tourism spending by 9% to over $135 billion. With only 42% of Americans owning a passport, this figure is extremely significant.
  • In terms of expenditure, no European nation outranks Germany who last year recorded spending of just under US$90 billion. That’s over US$1000 per person across the country in a year.
  • The UK comes in at 4th. Its competitive travel industry has seen spending rise to US$71 billion.

Who travels where

Countries with large populations and even bigger economies are always likely to spend big on travel, but where do they like to go?

  • Bordering the US are two very different sorts of holiday destinations with 35.1 million people travelling across the border to Mexico yearly, with just over 14.3 million venturing north to Canada. A combined 5 million leave the continent to the UK and France respectively.
  • The UK’s favourite destination is Spain (15.9m) followed by France (8.86m).
  • For a country relatively remote in its location to other nations, Canada is impressive when it comes to travel. Aside from trips to the USA, Canadians make millions of trips to the UK, Cuba and Germany.

Tourism expenditure in billions of US dollars

Global position Country Expenditure
1 China 257.7
2 USA 135
3 Germany 89.1
4 UK 71.4
5 France 41.4
6 Canada 31.8
7 Korea 30.6
8 Italy 27.7
9 Australia 34.2
10 Russia 31.1

Source: Get Going travel insurance 2019

Key destinations in millions of outbound visitor numbers, as calculated by Get Going, are:


  1. Hong Kong 44.5
  2. Macau 20.5
  3. Taiwan 10.7


  1. Mexico 35.1
  2. Canada 14.3
  3. UK 2.9
  4. Dominican Republic 2.8
  5. France 2.4


  1. Spain 15.9
  2. France 8.9
  3. Italy 4.4
  4. Ireland 3.5
  5. USA 3.4


  1. Turkey 4.5
  2. Finland 3.3
  3. Kazakhstan 3.0


  1. USA 19.3
  2. Mexico 2.1
  3. UK 1.3
  4. Cuba 0.8
  5. Germany 0.6


  1. France 5.4
  2. Spain 2.5
  3. Germany 2.4
  4. UK 1.7
  5. Switzerland 1.5


  1. Spain 4.2
  2. Italy 3.1
  3. Belgium 3.0
  4. UK 1.8
  5. Portugal 1.4


1 = Austria 13
1 = France 13
3. Spain