Countries most dependent on tourism



Slide 1 of 51: When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, it put travelers around the world into a frenzy. Those who were at home began working with airlines to cancel upcoming travel plans and try to guess a safe time to reschedule trips they’d paid for already. Travelers who were abroad scrambled to get a seat on one of the remaining flights home, before borders were closed and lockdowns were put in place. And once strict travel restrictions were implemented, many foreign tourists—including more than 13,000 Americans—were left stranded in their vacation destinations, unsure when or if they’d be able to get home safely. As devastating as the pandemic has been on those who love to travel, it’s been far worse for countries that depend on a steady stream of visitors to bolster their economies and support local jobs. In fact, data from the World Economic Forum shows that around one in 10 people across the globe work in tourism, and the industry has been responsible for about a quarter of all net new jobs created worldwide between 2014 and 2019. Popular tourism destinations have been hemorrhaging jobs and losing huge amounts of revenue while people are stuck at home. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has predicted that tourist numbers could plummet as much as 80% this year, while the World Travel & Tourism Council warned in June that more than 197 million jobs could vanish amid ongoing travel restrictions. While most, if not all, countries will feel the effects of a decline in tourism in some way, tourism-dependent nations will inevitably fare the worst while the main driver of their economies is gone. To find the countries most reliant on tourism, Stacker consulted the World Bank’s TCdata360 database released in 2020. Countries were ranked based on tourism’s percentage of contribution to their GDP. Any country not a member of the United Nations was removed from the dataset. All monetary values are real U.S. dollars. Stacker also consulted local and international news agencies, reports from governments and authoritative organizations, and articles from travel publications to understand the impact that declining tourism rates are having on these vulnerable destinations. Click through to learn more about how the most tourism-dependent countries are coping during the coronavirus. You may also like:  Strange laws to be aware of in the most popular countries for tourists
Slide 2 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $320.6 million (13.7% of total GDP; 821.9% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 92,300 (13% of total jobs) Lesotho sealed its borders in mid-March after South Africa, the country that surrounds the landlocked nation, repatriated its citizens from Wuhan, China, report Lungile Matsuma and Nady Weitza of Independent Online. The country, which is known for its high-altitude mountain ranges, remained closed to travelers as of early September, according to Kashlee Kucheran of Travel Off Path.
Slide 3 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $2.4 billion (14% of total GDP; 6.2% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 177,100 (8.3% of total jobs) Tourism has been a struggle in Syria since its civil war broke out in 2011, and the pandemic has not helped the situation. Prior to these struggles, the country attracted tourists to its historic mosques, the Aleppo Citadel, and the Old City of Damascus.
Slide 4 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.9 billion (14.1% of total GDP; 1.4% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 103,000 (14.2% of total jobs) In early September, Namibia reopened to international tourists after closing its borders due to COVID-19. Tourists who can show a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight must quarantine at an approved accommodation for at least seven days, and test negative again on the fifth day, before they can explore the country’s wildlife sanctuaries and other attractions.

Slide 5 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $5.9 billion (14.4% of total GDP; 19.2% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 478,300 (13.2% of total jobs) Tunisia has suffered massive financial damage by the decline in tourism during the pandemic, according to a France 24 report. The country’s extensive coastline with its white sand beaches naturally attracts tourists. Volunteers in the country want to jump-start tourism with a new initiative focused on saving rare turtles.
Slide 6 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $9 billion (14.6% of total GDP; 97.5% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 273,900 (14.6% of total jobs) The future of the Panama Canal, one of Panama’s most popular tourist attractions, has been put in jeopardy by the pandemic, report Jeremy Hobson and Samantha Raphelson of WBUR, Boston. It has experienced a sharp decline in shipping vessels and cruise ships over the past few months. You may also like:  50 of the most beautiful hotel lobbies in the world
Slide 7 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $62.3 billion (14.6% of total GDP; 2.7% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 717,000 (15.9% of total jobs) Austria saw 97% of the reservations tourists made for accommodations get canceled in April. The country is now gearing up for expected challenges in the winter tourism season and figuring out ways to make the après-ski scene safer, according to Vindobona.org-Vienna International News.
Slide 8 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $60 million (14.8% of total GDP; 90% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 5,300 (15.9% of total jobs) The year 2020 has been a tough one for tourism in Tonga. Not only has the country been dealing with the effects of the pandemic on the tourism industry, it was also slammed by Superstorm Harold in April, which totally destroyed popular resorts across the country.
Slide 9 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $201.9 billion (14.9% of total GDP; 10.6% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 2.9 million (15% of total jobs) Spain experienced a 75% year-over-year drop in tourism in July due to the pandemic. The country, which had a notoriously strict lockdown in March, had no tourists whatsoever in April and May, reports Luke Hurst of EuroNews.

Slide 10 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3.5 billion (15.1% of total GDP; 62.8% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 538,800 (13.3% of total jobs) After closing its borders on March 15, Honduras began welcoming the return of international flights on Aug. 17, report the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. During the closure, the country had been working on modernizing its tourism sectors through online courses.
Slide 11 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $5.9 billion (15.1% of total GDP; 144.3% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 636,800 (13.8% of total jobs) Hit hard by a drop in tourism during the pandemic, Azerbaijan has developed a four-phase recovery plan to encourage people to visit the destination. The plan includes a major virtual travel trade festival for tourism professionals in October, as reported in Vestnik Kavkaza. You may also like:  Most fun cities in America
Slide 12 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.1 billion (15.5% of total GDP; 2.4% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 100,500 (15.5% of total jobs) Estonia saw visits from foreign tourists plummet by 93% in the second quarter of 2020, resulting in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, according to ERR News. The country launched a new digital nomad visa in August in hopes of encouraging long-term visitors.
Slide 13 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $191 billion (16.1% of total GDP; 18.7% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 8.8 million (16.6% of total jobs) Mexico didn’t keep its tourism industry closed for long. The popular state of Quintana Roo, home to Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, reopened on June 8 with a new Clean & Safe Check Certification for tourism service providers, while Los Cabos welcomed visitors back the following week, notes Laurie Baratti of TravelPulse. The country is forecast to have hotel occupancy rates between just 33% and 47% this year due to the coronavirus, according to data from Statista.
Slide 14 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.8 billion (16.2% of total GDP; 141.1% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 797,500 (13.6% of total jobs) Many visitors to Madagascar travel to the island nation to see its protected areas, which are home to spectacular biodiversity, note Rivonala Razafison and Malavika Vyawahare of Mongabay. Katie Knorovsky of National Geographic reports that lack of tourists during the pandemic has made it more difficult for the country to protect these areas and the animals who live there from illicit activities.

Slide 15 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.9 billion (16.2% of total GDP; 274.4% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 169,300 (14.4% of total jobs) Amid restrictions on international visitors, Armenia has seen an uptick of residents looking to explore their own country over the past few months, reports Raffi Elliott of The Armenian Weekly. Its tourism board says that hotel occupancy rates in the nation have climbed dramatically since the lockdown ended in May.
Slide 16 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $13.6 billion (17.2% of total GDP; 6.3% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 696,500 (15.9% of total jobs) In an effort to lure tourists back safely, the Dominican Republic has announced that it will give visitors free health insurance during their trip. The country is known for its luxurious hotels, world-class golfing, archeological sites, and stunning beaches. You may also like:  25 extreme getaways
Slide 17 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $40 billion (17.8% of total GDP; 64.9% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 1 million (21.1% of total jobs) Rumors that Portugal would be removed from the U.K.’s safe-to-visit list prompted many British travelers to rush home from their vacations and cancel upcoming trips. The yo-yoing has had a devastating effect on Portugal’s tourism industry.
Slide 18 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $33.9 billion (17.9% of total GDP; 5.8% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 526,900 (21.8% of total jobs) Beloved for its Hobbiton film set, wineries, and sea kayaking safaris, New Zealand is urging Kiwis to skip their annual overseas trips and explore their own country, instead. The country is expecting to lose up to $21 billion over the next four years due to the drop in tourism during COVID-19.
Slide 19 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $20.8 billion (18.6% of total GDP; 69.8% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 1.9 million (16.4% of total jobs) France 24 reports that tourism in Morocco’s most-visited city of Marrakech has been decimated during the pandemic, with 70% of the city’s hotels still shut down as of mid-August. Some of the city’s carriage horses, which are popular among tourists, are now at risk of starvation, according to the Associated Press.
Slide 20 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $9.8 billion (19.1% of total GDP; 285.7% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 386,800 (18.4% of total jobs) The year 2020 has been catastrophic for tourism in Lebanon, which not only suffered a steep drop in visitors during the pandemic, but also a devastating explosion at the Beirut port. More than half the hotels in the greater metropolitan area were severely damaged, as were 2,060 restaurants, reports Tony Akleh of Arabian Business.
Slide 21 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $8.2 billion (19.7% of total GDP; 12.7% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 229,500 (20.1% of total jobs) Jordan has announced it will reopen its main airport in early September after being closed to regular flights for nearly six months during the pandemic. While best known for the famous archeological site of Petra, the country is also a popular destination for medical tourism, which typically brings in $1.5 billion, reports Arabian Business. You may also like:  Top rated museums in the U.S.
Slide 22 of 51: - 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.
Slide 23 of 51: - 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.
Slide 24 of 51: - 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.
Slide 25 of 51: - 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.
Slide 26 of 51: - 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. You may also like:  Must-do activities at every national park
Slide 27 of 51: - 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.
Slide 28 of 51: - 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.
Slide 29 of 51: - 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.
Slide 30 of 51: - 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.
Slide 31 of 51: - 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. You may also like:  20 tips for the ultimate road trip
Slide 32 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.2 billion (25.1% of total GDP; 54.9% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 39,200 (20% of total jobs) Montenegro expected the summer tourism season to bring in 90% less revenue in 2020 than it did in 2019, reports Reuters. The country is now banking on travelers from Russia, who often visit the beaches along the Adriatic coast, to bolster the floundering tourism industry.
Slide 33 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $14.2 billion (25.1% of total GDP; 45% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 319,800 (23.4% of total jobs) While Croatia expected tourism to drop by around two-thirds amid the pandemic, the perpetually popular destination’s visitor rates were as high as 60% to 70% of the 2019 figures in July and August, reports Reuters. Most travelers visit the country to explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia’s second largest city.
Slide 34 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3.6 billion (26.3% of total GDP; 176.1% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 302,500 (24.3% of total jobs) Located on the opposite coast of the Adriatic Sea as Italy, Albania reopened its airports to international flights in June. The former Communist country has attractions such as fortress towns, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking mountain scenery.
Slide 35 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $263.7 million (26.8% of total GDP; 9.6% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 6,500 (25.6% of total jobs) St. Kitts and Nevis, a dual-island nation with lush rainforest hiking trails and picturesque beaches, has teamed up with a half dozen of its neighbors in the Caribbean to encourage intra-regional travel during the pandemic, reports Gay Nagle Myers of Travel Weekly. The country announced it will reopen to international visitors in October.
Slide 36 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3.3 billion (26.9% of total GDP; 14.1% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 55,100 (28.1% of total jobs) Malta is welcoming visitors who spend at least 14 days in a country it deems safe before its arrival. Once there, travelers can explore Malta’s noble capital of Valletta, the bucolic island of Gozo, and the medieval town of Mdina, among other sites. You may also like:  The 50 best beach towns to live in
Slide 37 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.9 billion (31.3% of total GDP; 107.5% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 489,100 (27.3% of total jobs) Georgia invites nationals of the United States and 94 other countries to enjoy year-long stays in the Caucuses as part of a new tourism and immigration program. As of Sept. 2, the country had a total of 19 deaths related to COVID-19. The pandemic has caused a 69% decline in visitors from January to July.
Slide 38 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $7.5 billion (31.6% of total GDP; 356.7% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 2.7 million (30.5% of total jobs) Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism announced in early September that more than 30% of the country’s tourism operators have resumed operations after shutting down due to COVID-19 in March, according to the Permanent Secretary of State of the Ministry of Tourism Tith Chantha. The Southeast Asian country has 255 official tourism sites, the most famous of which is Angkor Wat.
Slide 39 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.9 billion (33.7% of total GDP; 26.2% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 368,100 (30.5% of total jobs) Summer tourism revenues dropped 70% in Jamaica, which saw less than a third of its typical tourist arrivals this season, according to Stabroek News. The “birthplace of reggae” has a colorful African vibe with lush mountains, golden beaches, and vibrant coral reefs, writes Karen Hastings of PlanetWare.
Slide 40 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $8.9 billion (35% of total GDP; 75.5% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 70,400 (36.6% of total jobs) Iceland’s economy declined by 9.3% from April to June as a result of a slump in tourism, reports Helene Dauschy of Agence France-Presse. The popular tourist destination, which is renowned for its stunning natural landscape, tightened its regulations on travelers in mid-August amid a spike in COVID-19.
Slide 41 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $199.9 million (37.6% of total GDP; 59.2% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 12,900 (34.5% of total jobs) Dominica, a mountainous island located between Guadeloupe and Martinique, began welcoming tourists again on Aug. 7. The country has an emerging ecotourism industry and award-winning resorts and hotels. You may also like:  America's biggest travel nightmares (and how to avoid them)
Slide 42 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $2 billion (39.3% of total GDP; 28.1% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 117,200 (35.7% of total jobs) Tourist arrivals to Fiji dropped 99% in May 2020 compared with May 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the International Monetary Fund. The country, which has legendary beaches, is expecting a 21.7% decline in its economy this year.
Slide 43 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $2 billion (41.2% of total GDP; 9.5% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 54,000 (41.3% of total jobs) With nearly zero tourist arrivals from April through June, Barbados unveiled a new tourism and immigration program that allows remote workers to stay in the Caribbean island for 12 months at a time. The country is known for its turquoise coastline, fun nightlife, and wild surf, according to Lonely Planet.
Slide 44 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $794 million (41.8% of total GDP; 81.7% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 61,400 (37.1% of total jobs) A drop in tourism revenue during the pandemic has prompted Indigenous tourism businesses in Belize to return to their roots as farmers, reports Anastasia Moloney of Reuters. The country has the second largest barrier reef in the world, along with vibrant wildlife that appeals to nature-focused travelers.
Slide 45 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $654.2 million (43.3% of total GDP; 18.1% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 40,300 (52.4% of total jobs) After thousands of locals lost their jobs amid a drop in tourism, the postcard-worthy Caribbean island of St. Lucia reopened to travelers on July 9, reports Brian Major of TravelPulse. Since then, the country’s top tourism official says it has received a “consistent flow of visitors.”
Slide 46 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $807.1 million (44.4% of total GDP; 235.5% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 95,400 (38.9% of total jobs) Cabo Verde has suffered an economic crisis after COVID-19 forced it to close its borders to international flights in mid-March, according to Macau Business. Lonely Planet says the volcanic archipelago, which is located 300 miles west of Senegal, boasts a mix of sparkling bays, green valleys, and craggy mountains. You may also like:  U.S. airports with the most delays
Slide 47 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $380.4 million (45.9% of total GDP; 21.6% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 30,800 (39.2% of total jobs) Despite a drop in tourism, Vanuatu generated a $33.3 million budget surplus from January to June with its “citizenship-for-sale program,” reports Dan McGarry of The Guardian. The country has more than 80 islands scattered around the Pacific, offering travelers the opportunity to spend time in deserted beaches and rugged landscapes.
Slide 48 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.5 billion (48.3% of total GDP; 4.4% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 114,900 (56.2% of total jobs) Coronavirus-related shutdowns in the cruising industry have cost the Bahamas around $540 million in revenue, says Dionisio D’Aguilar, the country’s Minister of Tourism. The vacation destination is home to world-class resorts and palm-fringed beaches.
Slide 49 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $806.1 million (52.4% of total GDP; 29.5% decrease since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 17,000 (46.2% of total jobs) Antigua and Barbuda reopened its airport to international and regional flights in June after a shutdown earlier this year, which has ravaged the economy, reports Caribbean National Weekly. Divers love the country’s reef-lined beaches, while nature-focused travelers dig its rainforests.
Slide 50 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $999.9 million (64.2% of total GDP; 13.5% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 29,700 (63.7% of total jobs) Tourism in the Seychelles has flatlined during the pandemic, according to the country’s former minister of tourism, Alain St. Ange. He says the country’s marijuana industry could present new opportunities for tourism in the future.
Slide 51 of 51: - Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3 billion (75.1% of total GDP; 44.2% increase since 1998) - Jobs reliant on tourism: 80,400 (36.7% of total jobs) The Maldives reopened to travelers with minimal safety requirements in mid-July. However it has since implemented stricter rules after more than a dozen of its luxurious resorts had a spike in coronavirus cases among visitors and staff. You may also like:  30 tips for traveling alone

Countries most dependent on tourism

When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, it put travelers around the world into a frenzy. Those who were at home began working with airlines to cancel upcoming travel plans and try to guess a safe time to reschedule trips they’d paid for already. Travelers who were abroad scrambled to get a seat on one of the remaining flights home, before borders were closed and lockdowns were put in place. And once strict travel restrictions were implemented, many foreign tourists—including more than 13,000 Americans—were left stranded in their vacation destinations, unsure when or if they’d be able to get home safely.

As devastating as the pandemic has been on those who love to travel, it’s been far worse for countries that depend on a steady stream of visitors to bolster their economies and support local jobs. In fact, data from the World Economic Forum shows that around one in 10 people across the globe work in tourism, and the industry has been responsible for about a quarter of all net new jobs created worldwide between 2014 and 2019.

Popular tourism destinations have been hemorrhaging jobs and losing huge amounts of revenue while people are stuck at home. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has predicted that tourist numbers could plummet as much as 80% this year, while the World Travel & Tourism Council warned in June that more than 197 million jobs could vanish amid ongoing travel restrictions.

While most, if not all, countries will feel the effects of a decline in tourism in some way, tourism-dependent nations will inevitably fare the worst while the main driver of their economies is gone. To find the countries most reliant on tourism, Stacker consulted the World Bank’s TCdata360 database released in 2020. Countries were ranked based on tourism’s percentage of contribution to their GDP. Any country not a member of the United Nations was removed from the dataset. All monetary values are real U.S. dollars. Stacker also consulted local and international news agencies, reports from governments and authoritative organizations, and articles from travel publications to understand the impact that declining tourism rates are having on these vulnerable destinations.

Click through to learn more about how the most tourism-dependent countries are coping during the coronavirus.

You may also like: Strange laws to be aware of in the most popular countries for tourists

#50. Lesotho

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $320.6 million (13.7% of total GDP; 821.9% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 92,300 (13% of total jobs)

Lesotho sealed its borders in mid-March after South Africa, the country that surrounds the landlocked nation, repatriated its citizens from Wuhan, China, report Lungile Matsuma and Nady Weitza of Independent Online. The country, which is known for its high-altitude mountain ranges, remained closed to travelers as of early September, according to Kashlee Kucheran of Travel Off Path.

#49. Syrian Arab Republic

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $2.4 billion (14% of total GDP; 6.2% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 177,100 (8.3% of total jobs)

Tourism has been a struggle in Syria since its civil war broke out in 2011, and the pandemic has not helped the situation. Prior to these struggles, the country attracted tourists to its historic mosques, the Aleppo Citadel, and the Old City of Damascus.

#48. Namibia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.9 billion (14.1% of total GDP; 1.4% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 103,000 (14.2% of total jobs)

In early September, Namibia reopened to international tourists after closing its borders due to COVID-19. Tourists who can show a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight must quarantine at an approved accommodation for at least seven days, and test negative again on the fifth day, before they can explore the country’s wildlife sanctuaries and other attractions.

#47. Tunisia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $5.9 billion (14.4% of total GDP; 19.2% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 478,300 (13.2% of total jobs)

Tunisia has suffered massive financial damage by the decline in tourism during the pandemic, according to a France 24 report. The country’s extensive coastline with its white sand beaches naturally attracts tourists. Volunteers in the country want to jump-start tourism with a new initiative focused on saving rare turtles.

#46. Panama

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $9 billion (14.6% of total GDP; 97.5% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 273,900 (14.6% of total jobs)

The future of the Panama Canal, one of Panama’s most popular tourist attractions, has been put in jeopardy by the pandemic, report Jeremy Hobson and Samantha Raphelson of WBUR, Boston. It has experienced a sharp decline in shipping vessels and cruise ships over the past few months.

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#45. Austria

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $62.3 billion (14.6% of total GDP; 2.7% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 717,000 (15.9% of total jobs)

Austria saw 97% of the reservations tourists made for accommodations get canceled in April. The country is now gearing up for expected challenges in the winter tourism season and figuring out ways to make the après-ski scene safer, according to Vindobona.org-Vienna International News.

#44. Tonga

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $60 million (14.8% of total GDP; 90% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 5,300 (15.9% of total jobs)

The year 2020 has been a tough one for tourism in Tonga. Not only has the country been dealing with the effects of the pandemic on the tourism industry, it was also slammed by Superstorm Harold in April, which totally destroyed popular resorts across the country.

#43. Spain

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $201.9 billion (14.9% of total GDP; 10.6% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 2.9 million (15% of total jobs)

Spain experienced a 75% year-over-year drop in tourism in July due to the pandemic. The country, which had a notoriously strict lockdown in March, had no tourists whatsoever in April and May, reports Luke Hurst of EuroNews.

#42. Honduras

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3.5 billion (15.1% of total GDP; 62.8% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 538,800 (13.3% of total jobs)

After closing its borders on March 15, Honduras began welcoming the return of international flights on Aug. 17, report the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. During the closure, the country had been working on modernizing its tourism sectors through online courses.

#41. Azerbaijan

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $5.9 billion (15.1% of total GDP; 144.3% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 636,800 (13.8% of total jobs)

Hit hard by a drop in tourism during the pandemic, Azerbaijan has developed a four-phase recovery plan to encourage people to visit the destination. The plan includes a major virtual travel trade festival for tourism professionals in October, as reported in Vestnik Kavkaza.

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#40. Estonia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.1 billion (15.5% of total GDP; 2.4% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 100,500 (15.5% of total jobs)

Estonia saw visits from foreign tourists plummet by 93% in the second quarter of 2020, resulting in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, according to ERR News. The country launched a new digital nomad visa in August in hopes of encouraging long-term visitors.

#39. Mexico

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $191 billion (16.1% of total GDP; 18.7% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 8.8 million (16.6% of total jobs)

Mexico didn’t keep its tourism industry closed for long. The popular state of Quintana Roo, home to Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, reopened on June 8 with a new Clean & Safe Check Certification for tourism service providers, while Los Cabos welcomed visitors back the following week, notes Laurie Baratti of TravelPulse. The country is forecast to have hotel occupancy rates between just 33% and 47% this year due to the coronavirus, according to data from Statista.

#38. Madagascar

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.8 billion (16.2% of total GDP; 141.1% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 797,500 (13.6% of total jobs)

Many visitors to Madagascar travel to the island nation to see its protected areas, which are home to spectacular biodiversity, note Rivonala Razafison and Malavika Vyawahare of Mongabay. Katie Knorovsky of National Geographic reports that lack of tourists during the pandemic has made it more difficult for the country to protect these areas and the animals who live there from illicit activities.

#37. Armenia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.9 billion (16.2% of total GDP; 274.4% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 169,300 (14.4% of total jobs)

Amid restrictions on international visitors, Armenia has seen an uptick of residents looking to explore their own country over the past few months, reports Raffi Elliott of The Armenian Weekly. Its tourism board says that hotel occupancy rates in the nation have climbed dramatically since the lockdown ended in May.

#36. Dominican Republic

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $13.6 billion (17.2% of total GDP; 6.3% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 696,500 (15.9% of total jobs)

In an effort to lure tourists back safely, the Dominican Republic has announced that it will give visitors free health insurance during their trip. The country is known for its luxurious hotels, world-class golfing, archeological sites, and stunning beaches.

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#35. Portugal

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $40 billion (17.8% of total GDP; 64.9% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 1 million (21.1% of total jobs)

Rumors that Portugal would be removed from the U.K.’s safe-to-visit list prompted many British travelers to rush home from their vacations and cancel upcoming trips. The yo-yoing has had a devastating effect on Portugal’s tourism industry.

#34. New Zealand

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $33.9 billion (17.9% of total GDP; 5.8% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 526,900 (21.8% of total jobs)

Beloved for its Hobbiton film set, wineries, and sea kayaking safaris, New Zealand is urging Kiwis to skip their annual overseas trips and explore their own country, instead. The country is expecting to lose up to $21 billion over the next four years due to the drop in tourism during COVID-19.

#33. Morocco

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $20.8 billion (18.6% of total GDP; 69.8% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 1.9 million (16.4% of total jobs)

France 24 reports that tourism in Morocco’s most-visited city of Marrakech has been decimated during the pandemic, with 70% of the city’s hotels still shut down as of mid-August. Some of the city’s carriage horses, which are popular among tourists, are now at risk of starvation, according to the Associated Press.

#32. Lebanon

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $9.8 billion (19.1% of total GDP; 285.7% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 386,800 (18.4% of total jobs)

The year 2020 has been catastrophic for tourism in Lebanon, which not only suffered a steep drop in visitors during the pandemic, but also a devastating explosion at the Beirut port. More than half the hotels in the greater metropolitan area were severely damaged, as were 2,060 restaurants, reports Tony Akleh of Arabian Business.

#31. Jordan

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $8.2 billion (19.7% of total GDP; 12.7% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 229,500 (20.1% of total jobs)

Jordan has announced it will reopen its main airport in early September after being closed to regular flights for nearly six months during the pandemic. While best known for the famous archeological site of Petra, the country is also a popular destination for medical tourism, which typically brings in $1.5 billion, reports Arabian Business.

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#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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#20. Montenegro

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $1.2 billion (25.1% of total GDP; 54.9% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 39,200 (20% of total jobs)

Montenegro expected the summer tourism season to bring in 90% less revenue in 2020 than it did in 2019, reports Reuters. The country is now banking on travelers from Russia, who often visit the beaches along the Adriatic coast, to bolster the floundering tourism industry.

#19. Croatia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $14.2 billion (25.1% of total GDP; 45% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 319,800 (23.4% of total jobs)

While Croatia expected tourism to drop by around two-thirds amid the pandemic, the perpetually popular destination’s visitor rates were as high as 60% to 70% of the 2019 figures in July and August, reports Reuters. Most travelers visit the country to explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia’s second largest city.

#18. Albania

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3.6 billion (26.3% of total GDP; 176.1% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 302,500 (24.3% of total jobs)

Located on the opposite coast of the Adriatic Sea as Italy, Albania reopened its airports to international flights in June. The former Communist country has attractions such as fortress towns, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking mountain scenery.

#17. St. Kitts and Nevis

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $263.7 million (26.8% of total GDP; 9.6% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 6,500 (25.6% of total jobs)

St. Kitts and Nevis, a dual-island nation with lush rainforest hiking trails and picturesque beaches, has teamed up with a half dozen of its neighbors in the Caribbean to encourage intra-regional travel during the pandemic, reports Gay Nagle Myers of Travel Weekly. The country announced it will reopen to international visitors in October.

#16. Malta

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3.3 billion (26.9% of total GDP; 14.1% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 55,100 (28.1% of total jobs)

Malta is welcoming visitors who spend at least 14 days in a country it deems safe before its arrival. Once there, travelers can explore Malta’s noble capital of Valletta, the bucolic island of Gozo, and the medieval town of Mdina, among other sites.

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#15. Georgia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.9 billion (31.3% of total GDP; 107.5% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 489,100 (27.3% of total jobs)

Georgia invites nationals of the United States and 94 other countries to enjoy year-long stays in the Caucuses as part of a new tourism and immigration program. As of Sept. 2, the country had a total of 19 deaths related to COVID-19. The pandemic has caused a 69% decline in visitors from January to July.

#14. Cambodia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $7.5 billion (31.6% of total GDP; 356.7% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 2.7 million (30.5% of total jobs)

Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism announced in early September that more than 30% of the country’s tourism operators have resumed operations after shutting down due to COVID-19 in March, according to the Permanent Secretary of State of the Ministry of Tourism Tith Chantha. The Southeast Asian country has 255 official tourism sites, the most famous of which is Angkor Wat.

#13. Jamaica

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.9 billion (33.7% of total GDP; 26.2% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 368,100 (30.5% of total jobs)

Summer tourism revenues dropped 70% in Jamaica, which saw less than a third of its typical tourist arrivals this season, according to Stabroek News. The “birthplace of reggae” has a colorful African vibe with lush mountains, golden beaches, and vibrant coral reefs, writes Karen Hastings of PlanetWare.

#12. Iceland

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $8.9 billion (35% of total GDP; 75.5% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 70,400 (36.6% of total jobs)

Iceland’s economy declined by 9.3% from April to June as a result of a slump in tourism, reports Helene Dauschy of Agence France-Presse. The popular tourist destination, which is renowned for its stunning natural landscape, tightened its regulations on travelers in mid-August amid a spike in COVID-19.

#11. Dominica

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $199.9 million (37.6% of total GDP; 59.2% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 12,900 (34.5% of total jobs)

Dominica, a mountainous island located between Guadeloupe and Martinique, began welcoming tourists again on Aug. 7. The country has an emerging ecotourism industry and award-winning resorts and hotels.

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#10. Fiji

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $2 billion (39.3% of total GDP; 28.1% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 117,200 (35.7% of total jobs)

Tourist arrivals to Fiji dropped 99% in May 2020 compared with May 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the International Monetary Fund. The country, which has legendary beaches, is expecting a 21.7% decline in its economy this year.

#9. Barbados

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $2 billion (41.2% of total GDP; 9.5% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 54,000 (41.3% of total jobs)

With nearly zero tourist arrivals from April through June, Barbados unveiled a new tourism and immigration program that allows remote workers to stay in the Caribbean island for 12 months at a time. The country is known for its turquoise coastline, fun nightlife, and wild surf, according to Lonely Planet.

#8. Belize

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $794 million (41.8% of total GDP; 81.7% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 61,400 (37.1% of total jobs)

A drop in tourism revenue during the pandemic has prompted Indigenous tourism businesses in Belize to return to their roots as farmers, reports Anastasia Moloney of Reuters. The country has the second largest barrier reef in the world, along with vibrant wildlife that appeals to nature-focused travelers.

#7. St. Lucia

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $654.2 million (43.3% of total GDP; 18.1% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 40,300 (52.4% of total jobs)

After thousands of locals lost their jobs amid a drop in tourism, the postcard-worthy Caribbean island of St. Lucia reopened to travelers on July 9, reports Brian Major of TravelPulse. Since then, the country’s top tourism official says it has received a “consistent flow of visitors.”

#6. Cabo Verde

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $807.1 million (44.4% of total GDP; 235.5% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 95,400 (38.9% of total jobs)

Cabo Verde has suffered an economic crisis after COVID-19 forced it to close its borders to international flights in mid-March, according to Macau Business. Lonely Planet says the volcanic archipelago, which is located 300 miles west of Senegal, boasts a mix of sparkling bays, green valleys, and craggy mountains.

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#5. Vanuatu

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $380.4 million (45.9% of total GDP; 21.6% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 30,800 (39.2% of total jobs)

Despite a drop in tourism, Vanuatu generated a $33.3 million budget surplus from January to June with its “citizenship-for-sale program,” reports Dan McGarry of The Guardian. The country has more than 80 islands scattered around the Pacific, offering travelers the opportunity to spend time in deserted beaches and rugged landscapes.

#4. The Bahamas

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $4.5 billion (48.3% of total GDP; 4.4% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 114,900 (56.2% of total jobs)

Coronavirus-related shutdowns in the cruising industry have cost the Bahamas around $540 million in revenue, says Dionisio D’Aguilar, the country’s Minister of Tourism. The vacation destination is home to world-class resorts and palm-fringed beaches.

#3. Antigua and Barbuda

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $806.1 million (52.4% of total GDP; 29.5% decrease since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 17,000 (46.2% of total jobs)

Antigua and Barbuda reopened its airport to international and regional flights in June after a shutdown earlier this year, which has ravaged the economy, reports Caribbean National Weekly. Divers love the country’s reef-lined beaches, while nature-focused travelers dig its rainforests.

#2. Seychelles

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $999.9 million (64.2% of total GDP; 13.5% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 29,700 (63.7% of total jobs)

Tourism in the Seychelles has flatlined during the pandemic, according to the country’s former minister of tourism, Alain St. Ange. He says the country’s marijuana industry could present new opportunities for tourism in the future.

#1. Maldives

– Tourism total contribution to GDP: $3 billion (75.1% of total GDP; 44.2% increase since 1998)
– Jobs reliant on tourism: 80,400 (36.7% of total jobs)

The Maldives reopened to travelers with minimal safety requirements in mid-July. However it has since implemented stricter rules after more than a dozen of its luxurious resorts had a spike in coronavirus cases among visitors and staff.

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