World Travel Statistics – Understanding the Numbers

World travel statistics can be extremely confusing when you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. Are you looking for the number of travelers who visit a particular country, city, or region? Do you want to know how much money people spend as they travel to different parts of the world? Maybe you are interested in finding out the number of people who use airlines to travel the world versus the number of people who use cars or other transportation for their travel and sightseeing.

The key is to know what you are looking for and then to go to the right source. Many of the major travel industry magazines and publications offer yearly statistics about countries, how much they cost to visit, the average length of stay, total number of visitors, and specifics about climate, activities, disposition of the locals, and much more.

When I am looking for world travel statistics, I usually start with the CIA world facts web pages. These offer you a nice overview of a country including the population, industries, major religions, and other cultural factors. In addition you can learn about the dangers travelers may face when visiting these places. The next place I visit is Lonely Planet, because they offer a more specific overview geared towards tourists and travelers of the world. The third stop is the Thorn Tree forums where I can find specific experiences about specific countries.

Finally, I like to go to sites like CouchSurfing and look at the city and country guides which are prepared by the members that live there. It is only after seeing these sources that I start to look at things like the world travel industry lists for fastest growing world travel destinations. At this point, since I have a context in which to think of a place, the numbers make a whole lot more sense.