“The Magic Pool” – Campaign Video for a Better Tourism in Burma
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This spot entitled The Magic Pool was produced in Burma by the director Moe Thorn, featuring in the main role Adam Fraser as tourist. Please watch and share!

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Tourism to Burma: Statistics Revisited

Submitted by on August 4, 2011 – 8:45 pmNo Comment

Never trust any statistics that you didn’t forge yourself, as the saying goes. Usually, you can do some nice tweaks by switching between absolute or relative numbers.

These thoughts came to my mind when I saw a table on Wikipedia that shows a ranking of tourists ordered by the country of origin. While it might tell you a lot about economic impact, I really don’t understand why to group tourists by country unless you want to make conclusions about the mentality, the specialization of outgoing tour operators or the mobility in the respective country. But then you would be advised to look at the ratio, not the total numbers. Otherwise, you simply end up with the banal fact that large countries are more likely to bring about large numbers – like more gold medals, more Nobel Prizes, or more criminals. The same, of course, applies to the number of tourists.

So I recalculated the ranking by relating the number of travelers to the total number of the population. Here is the result:

Old RankNew RankRatio Total/PopulationCountryAmount % TotalPopulation(updated)
by totalby ratioin ‰MaleFemaleTotal
1211,12 Singapore3361230956702.61%5,076,7002010
120,78 Thailand19637298744951122.83%63,878,2672010
1430,55 Switzerland2155218343382.00%7,866,5002010 estimate
640,48 Malaysia78655423132886.13%27,565,8212010
1150,32 Taiwan4740261273523.39%23,174,5282011 estimate
560,28 South Korea81895272134616.21%48,875,0002010 estimate
1770,22 Belgium1228120524331.12%11,007,0202011 estimate
480,20 France67836701134846.22%65,821,8852011 estimate
1590,19 Australia2383184642291.95%22,669,3912011 estimate
21100,14 Israel54850210500.48%7,746,0002011 estimate
19110,13 Netherlands1222101722391.03%16,686,8002011 estimate
10120,13 Italy3732393376653.53%60,642,3082010 estimate
7130,12 Germany5315464799624.59%81,799,6002010 estimate
13140,08 United Kingdom3156204752032.40%62,262,0002010 estimate
8150,07 Japan6373287492474.26%127,960,0002011 estimate
20160,05 Canada107378518580.86%34,538,0002011 estimate
9170,03 United States5024371787414.03%308,745,5382010
3180,02 China1898638852287110.55%1,339,724,8522010
18190,02 Russia1137122123581.09%142,905,2082010
22200,01 Bangladesh8211289490.44%142,300,0002011 estimate
23210,00 Pakistan3181114290.20%170,600,0002011 estimate
16220,00 India209768827851.28%1,210,193,4222011
2 N/A N/AOther countries114425133132773812.79% N/A

Notably, some small or medium size countries jumped up while bigger ones fell down in ranking.

I find particularly interesting that Switzerland ranks among Burma’s ASEAN neighbors and that Belgium and France rank much higher than the traditional countries of outgoing tourism like Germany, the United Kingdom or Japan. China, India and probably Russia as well simply don’t have that high a percentage of people traveling abroad as tourists.

photo: matt.hintsa

About the author

Christoph Amthor wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Christoph has worked for several years as journalist for print, radio and Internet before he co-founded the organization Burma Center Prague in 2006. Most time he spends in Prague, Czech Republic.

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