The World Cup of Tourism by the Numbers

Skift Take

The World Cup final is just around the corner, and both France and Argentina are determined to seize the title. While the winner of the match will be revealed on Sunday, the real question is: How do these destinations stack up when it comes to tourism numbers?

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, and this Sunday France and Argentina will face off in the final match in Qatar. The winner will be determined by a heated playoff, but who takes the title in the World Cup of Tourism?

France is home to some of the world’s most iconic monuments and historic sites, Argentina is known for its natural beauty, with unique glaciers, and world’s biggest waterfalls. Both France and Argentina are among the biggest cultural hubs in the world, and offer diverse climates, robust cuisines, and an overall rich travel experience. Let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other on key tourism numbers.


France remains the most visited country in the world with an obvious advantage in the number of inbound travelers. However, in 2019 (the pre-pandemic baseline), Argentina saw a remarkable 7.24 percent increase in arrivals, reaching an estimated 7.4 million international tourists. Although France also experienced an increase, it was not as significant as Argentina’s — from 89.4 million visitors in 2018 to 90.9 million in 2019, increasing only by 1.67 percent.

Visitor Spend

The impact of the pandemic on international travel was felt acutely in many countries, including France and Argentina. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, international spending in France dropped from a high of $66.3 billion in 2019 to $43.9 billion in 2021, a decrease of nearly 35%. Argentina experienced an even more pronounced decline in visitor spending, falling from $4.9 billion in 2019 to just $0.3 billion in 2021 — a 94 percent decrease.

Tourism Industry Jobs

The tourism industry has been a major employment hub for both Argentina and France, and both have faced significant declines in jobs due to the pandemic. Fortunately, both seem to be on their way to recovery with France employing 2.6 million tourism jobs — a 7.1 percent growth rate since the peak of the pandemic, and Argentina growing tourism jobs by 13.7 percent to 1.33 million people in 2021. Argentina travel jobs are now nearing a full recovery.

Travel Health

The Skift Travel Health Index is our proprietary measure of global travel activity. It reveals how tourism is recovering relative to a 2019 baseline in 22 nations. Argentina and France have both experienced a decrease in travel performance when compared to the previous month. Argentina saw a 10.4 point drop-off in November, while France experienced a 2.8 point decrease.

Infographics: Matt Heidkamp


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Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Tags: argentina, france, tourism, world cup

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