Forgotten Lands: TOP 10 World's Least Visited Countries
In a world where some of the most popular destinations for tourism are France, Spain, and the United States, there are still countries that remain largely undiscovered by travelers. While Bangkok, Thailand, attracts about 22 million visitors a year, and Paris, France, welcomes over 17.4 international visitors annually, while many nations receive only a fraction of such numbers. There are the forgotten lands, the countries that remain off the beaten path, and the hidden gems that are waiting to be explored. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the least visited countries in the world and why they receive so little interest.
1.TUVALU | 3600 visitors in 2019
Although Tuvalu is a safe and politically stable travel destination, it has been the least-visited country for several years. Why? Reaching Tuvalu is a long, complicated, and expensive journey. Nevertheless, Tuvalu is a fantastic travel destination, especially if you love crystal-clear waters and beautiful palm-fringed beaches. Suppose you're a fan of diving and snorkeling. In that case, you're in for a real treat as there's a fantastic conservation area covering 33km² (12.74mi²), jam-packed with coral reefs, lagoons, and ocean habitats home to sea turtles and other fantastic creatures. If you're more of a land lover, you can still enjoy Tuvalu's beauty with a leisurely walk along the beach, a relaxing picnic, or a yachting or motorscooter tour.
It's worth noting that Tuvalu is one of the 22 Pacific island nations that are most vulnerable to climate change. On the internet, it is often mentioned that children in Tuvalu are taught in school that they may be the last generation to grow up on the island before the ocean submerges it due to rising sea levels.
In fact, Tuvalu's limited tourism facilities are the main reason behind its low tourist numbers. There is only one authorized hotel on the island, no ATMs (cash-only) or acceptance of card payments. Furthermore, the island's air traffic is restricted, with only one plane landing or departing every few days from the single airport available.
2.SOLOMON ISLANDS | 4400 visitors in 2020
The Solomon Islands is a tropical paradise with pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, so no wonder that it is a good destination for water sports enthusiasts. The Solomon Islands, located southeast of Papua New Guinea, is also mountainous and heavily forested. Visitors can explore the lush rainforests, hike to remote villages, and learn about the traditional customs of the local tribes. Yet, it is the second least visited country in the world. Although it is a relatively undiscovered destination, its natural beauty and friendly people make it a perfect spot for adventurous travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience.
It is realy remote destination, so you shouldn't go there if you need a fancy accommodations, various restaurants, entertaining nightlife, and modern amenities. There aren't many gift shops, touristy malls, or souvenir markets outside the capital. Most shopping malls and crowded food markets are geared towards providing locals with their daily necessities rather than catering to tourists.
3.COMOROS | 7000 visitors in 2020
Comoros is a chain of beautiful volcanic islands located off the East African coast, between Madagascar and the Mozambican coast. Despite their stunning scenery, these islands are often overlooked by tourists. Honestly, many people don't even know they exist. The islands are politically divided between the Union of the Comoros and Mayotte. Unfortunately, political unrest has interfered with tourism advertising, leading to a lack of tourist infrastructure on the islands. But if you're looking for a unique and off-the-beaten-path destination, the Comoros Islands might be the perfect place to run away from buzzing city life. Crime levels are low, but still, be aware of pick-pocketing and mugging. Of course, you'll have to pay a lot for the travel because the Comoros Islands are not remote but more likely isolated.
4.CHAD | 10,400 visitors in 2020
If you thought it was the homeland of GigaChad - you were wrong... Chad is a landlocked country located in north-central Africa. Why it's the fourth least-visited country is easy to answer - it's poor and dangerous (borders with Libya and Sudan). In recent years Chad has faced significant political and economic instability with ongoing conflicts and high poverty rates. Because of these challenges, Chad is not a popular tourist destination, and tourism is not a major industry in the country. However, Chad does have some attractions that may interest intrepid travelers, such as its wildlife reserves, lakes, and ancient rock formations. For example, Zakouma National Park is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, and antelopes, while the Ennedi Plateau boasts striking rock formations and ancient rock art. The Tibesti Mountains are extremely isolated from civilization to the extent that volcanic eruptions here occur unnoticed.And finally, a UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Lakes of Ounianga. In total, eighteen interconnected lakes are located in the Sahara Desert in northeastern Chad.
5.KIRIBATI | 12,000 visitors in 2019
Kiribati is a country located in the central Pacific Ocean, consisting of 33 (21 of them are inhabited) islands spread over a vast ocean area. Due to its low-lying geography, Kiribati is one of the world's most vulnerable countries to climate change's effects, such as rising sea levels and ocean acidification, which impacts coastal erosion and food insecurity. The country has been actively working to combat these threats through various initiatives and partnerships with other nations, but the prognosis is not optimistic. Nevertheless, travelers go there for its world-class flyfishing and great spots for scuba diving.
6.PALAU | 18,400 visitors in 2020
Palau is a stunning Pacific Island nation where visitors cocoon themselves into tropical surroundings. There are several extraordinary must-see places, such as the Rock Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruins of ancient villages that date back thousands of years, mesmerizing Jellyfish lake, and Ngardmau Waterfalls. Visitors can experience Palauan culture through traditional dance performances, visits to local villages, and by sampling the country's delicious cuisine. Why is it less popular among tourists? I still didn't find the answer.
7. SAMOA | 23,900 visitors in 2020
Oh, Samoa, where the sun, sand, and sea unite for a tropical dream! Beautiful beaches and spectacular wonders, such as the To Sua Ocean Trench, Afu Aau Waterfall, or snorkeling with sea turtles in the waters off Lalomanu beach, are must-dos! Tourism is a big deal in Samoa, especially since visitors can experience the country's natural beauty and friendly people. However, Samoa is still at the bottom of the list of most visited countries, so come to Samoa, put your feet up, and relax - because there's no rush in this island paradise!
8. MOLDOVA | 29,000 visitors in 2020
Moldova is a landlocked nation situated between Romania and Ukraine, making it slightly larger than Belgium. Despite possessing medieval fortresses and archaeological attractions, the country received a meager 29,000 visitors in 2020, making it Europe's least visited country. The question arises as to why this naturally stunning country fails to attract more visitors. One of the major factors is the country's inadequate modern infrastructure, as it has been impoverished and deteriorating for some time. And let’s be frank, Moldova is challenging to access, and it shares a border with Ukraine, which has been at war with Russia.
9.BHUTAN | 29,800 visitors in 2020
Situated in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is known for its unique approach to tourism. Bhutan has a high-value, low-volume tourism policy to preserve its traditional culture and protect its environment. This policy aims to limit the number of tourists to the country by implementing a minimum daily spending requirement for visitors. Tourists in Bhutan must pay a tourist fee of $200 per day, which covers accommodations, meals, transportation, and a licensed Bhutanese guide. This tariff is higher than in other countries but ensures that Bhutan's environment and culture remain preserved. Additionally, Bhutan's government has implemented strict regulations on the number of tourists allowed annually. Even though there are few crowds, people want to visit this exotic country, explore ancient monasteries and temples, attend colorful festivals, and embark on treks through the stunning Himalayan landscapes.
10. MAURITANIA | 30,000 visitors in 2020
Mauritania is a hidden gem in West Africa with plenty of fascinating places to visit, activities to try, and attractions to explore, from the beautiful oases in the Sahara Desert to the stunning coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. There are many exciting places, such as the ancient city of Chinguetti, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unique architecture and historic libraries, the colorful markets in Nouakchott, and the beautiful dunes of the Adrar region. For those who love nature, Banc d'Arguin National Park is a must-visit. This protected area is home to diverse wildlife, including migratory birds, dolphins, and seals. You can also go birdwatching or take a boat tour to see the park's stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystem.
If you are wondering why the 28th-largest country in the world takes 10th place on the least visited countries list, it is all because of the negative stigma of being an unsafe country. Mauritania has struggled to attract tourists recently because of its history of violence, including kidnappings and killings several decades ago. Additionally, many embassies still advise against travel to the country. Discrimination against certain groups, including Black Mauritanians, the Haratin population, women, and LGBT+ people, further compounds this issue. As well as robbing, and smuggling. While the government has taken some steps to address institutionalized slavery and discrimination, you better visit another country.
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