Tuvalu – the least visited country in the world

While the countries that attract the most tourists in the world are on the agenda, a country is facing the opposite situation: Tuvalu

There are countries that are literally overrun by tourists and that have even had to take measures to curb the flow of visitors to certain places, such as Italy or Croatia. And then there are states that are rarely visited by vacationers – even though they are beautiful. This includes Tuvalu, for example. The small island nation is even the least visited country on earth.

The UN World Tourism Organization UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) regularly publishes the number of annual visitors to all countries worldwide. Data is missing for some countries – these are mostly states that have little or no tourism due to political or social circumstances. However, this does not include the country with the fewest visitors in the world: Tuvalu is a safe and politically stable travel destination, as a member of the Commonwealth it is subject to the English crown. Nevertheless, in the whole of 2019, i.e. before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, just 3,600 holidaymakers came to Tuvalu. And that despite the fact that the small island state boasts dream beaches, tropical flora and fauna and a turquoise sea.

The least visited country in the world: Tuvalu

There are two reasons why so few people vacation in Tuvalu. The first reason is the remote location. Tuvalu is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, roughly between Hawaii and Australia. Getting there is long, difficult and expensive. First you have to fly to the Fiji Islands, which are also not just around the corner. From there, a plane takes off towards Tuvalu – but only once a week. Tuvalu Airport is also a special feature: It is not fenced in and is used by the residents as a sports and playground outside of flight times.

The second reason is: Tuvalu is small. Tiny. The country, which includes nine islands and has almost 11,000 inhabitants, measures just 26 square kilometers. There are correspondingly few accommodations. There are only 13 hotels, hostels and lodges listed on Tripadvisor. Unlike Fiji, for example, there is not a single luxury hotel in Tuvalu. According to Tripadvisor, the number of attractions and sights is limited to six, including the Funafuti Conservation Area, a marine reserve, and the Philately Bureau, where you can admire and purchase all sorts of colorful Tuvalu stamps.

Relaxed vacation in secluded paradise

The few visitors who make the long journey to Tuvalu can look forward to a relaxed beach holiday in a dreamlike tropical environment. Tuvalu consists almost entirely of coral, so it’s also great for diving and snorkeling, for example on a boat trip to the marine reserve.

For the Tuvalus themselves, tourism is an important source of income, but further expansion of this sector would probably be difficult to do simply because of Tuvalu’s small area. In addition, the small island state has completely different problems to deal with: Tuvalu is one of the countries most severely affected by climate change. The residents are already suffering from extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

There is one surprising fact to report about Tuvalu when it comes to tourism. As already mentioned, a total of 3600 people traveled to the Pacific island in 2019. In 2017, on the other hand, there were only 2000. That means an increase in the number of tourists by a remarkable 80 percent within just two years. In view of the enormous increase in flight prices, however, it is to be expected that with the end of the corona pandemic, fewer holidaymakers will make the long and arduous journey to the Pacific island. Tuvalu will probably remain the least visited country on earth.

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