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  • Pauline Hoffmann

Oh the Places You'll Go

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Where, why and how do people travel? What do they do when they get there?

This week's theme is travel and

recreation. Much of the data for the podcast deals with travel and recreation prior to the global pandemic. There hasn't been much, if any, travel during the pandemic.

Often when I look for data I find what I call aggregator websites. That is a website or a blog that has information from a variety of sources. I found one that contained so much incredible information it was difficult for me to narrow my topic. It was also difficult for me to decide exactly how to sort through the information. The site, Assess Development, divided its information into several categories:

  • The cost of travel

  • Demographics

  • Destinations

  • Reasons and decisions

  • Activities

  • Other

What I also like about this particular site is that it notes with links where you can find the information it references. That is helpful! It also provides insights. For example, a survey of travel agencies noted that many people are looking for cruises. We did comment that the demographic of those who use a travel agency likely skews older which would match with the demographic of your typical cruise patron. Additionally, when looking at information from Trip Adviser, we see booze-cruise-like excursions which would match its demographic.

I encourage you to visit the site and pore through the data.

That isn't the only site I referenced.....

What I did find frustrating was how varied visitor data seemed to be across different platforms. For example, when looking at the top visited attractions worldwide based on visitor data, one would think it would be the same regardless of the reporting site. Nope.

Love Home Swap (graphic below) notes its 50 most visited tourist attractions in the world and it differs from information from Travel and Leisure (2014). Yet another site, Sky Scanner (2021), has a different top 9 from either of the previous sites:

  1. Niagara Falls

  2. Great Pyramid of Giza

  3. Great Wall of China

  4. Eiffel Tower

  5. Acropolis

  6. Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

  7. Stonehenge

  8. Machu Picchu, Peru

  9. The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

I point out this particular list here as I do on the podcast to question a few of the choices. While I don't doubt that the Great Pyramid of Giza is a wonderful attraction I do doubt its placement in the number 2 spot. I don't think Egypt is getting nearly the tourists this placement would suggest. Also, Machu Picchu isn't the easiest site to reach. Consider this in the context of the top visited countries in 2017 as noted by CNN (and compiled from visitor data):

  1. France -- 86.9 million.

  2. Spain -- 81.8 million.

  3. United States -- 75.9 million.

  4. China -- 60.7 million.

  5. Italy -- 58.3 million.

  6. Mexico -- 39.3 million.

  7. United Kingdom -- 37.7 million.

  8. Turkey -- 37.6 million.

  9. Germany – 37.5 million

  10. 10. Thailand – 35.4 million

Yes, this list is from 2017 while the other lists are from different years as noted above, but I don't think it will have changed significantly. If the most visited country is France, it would make sense to see the Eiffel Tower higher on the list of most visited tourist attractions.

What does that mean? It could mean nothing to you and you might say "who cares," but it does provide an excellent example of really looking at and questioning your data and your sources. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to compare. Don't be afraid to wonder.

Given this contradictory information I could go back and dig deeper into the data to find out what is correct or not. I could. Perhaps I will in the future. For purposes of this blog and podcast episode I think it works to note the discrepancies and what you should do about it and how cautious you should be.

Wonder what the most visited museums in the world are? According to the European Museums Network, they are as follows:

  1. Louvre Museum, Paris

  2. National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

  3. National Museum of China, Beijing

  4. National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

  5. British Museum, London

  6. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

  7. National Gallery, London

  8. Vatican Museums, Vatican City (Rome)

  9. Natural History Museum, London

  10. American Museum of Natural History, New York City

I also reference this fabulous graphic from the blog of Love Home Swap. I include it here because I like it. Take a look at our social media posts this week to see our ARS (Arbitrary Random Stat). I made Bryce do some homework. Listen to find out what our top five bucket list travel destinations/excursions are.

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