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Thailand experienced the greatest growth in tourism receipts, or money spent by international tourists, of any country in 2013.

Thailand’s tourism receipts grew 27.5 percent, according to provisional statistics released in the United Nations World Tourism Organization‘s 2013 Tourism Barometer.

Thailand also posted significant gains in tourism receipts in 2012. Despite its rapid growth, it made less money than the major European destinations and the United States that year.

Asia Leads Growth in Tourism Receipts

Three of the five countries with the greatest growth of tourism receipts in 2013 are located in Asia. Japan and Hong Kong each saw expenditures by international inbound visitors grow more than 20 percent last year.

Asia experienced the greatest relative growth in international tourist arrivals in 2013, up six percent from the previous year. However, arrival growth does not directly correspond into greater tourism receipts on the country level.

Tourist arrivals to Hong Kong only grew 8 percent last year, but traveler spend increased 20.6 percent. Similarly, tourist arrivals to Saudi Arabia dropped 7.2 percent last year, but traveler spend increased 11 percent.

Growth of tourism receipts can be impacted by the type of tourists arriving that year and the cost of travel within a country.

CountryGrowth of International Tourism Receipts in 2013 (%)Growth of International Tourism Arrivals in 2013 (%)
Hong Kong (China)20.6%8%
United Kingdom14.7%5.4%
Saudi Arabia10.9%-7.2%
Macao (China)10.7%5.4%
United States10.5%4.2%
Photo Credit: Tourists travel with tour guides down a canal with the floating markets. Dennis Jarvis / Flickr