The United Nations World Tourism Organization lists annually the least visited countries in the world and overseas territories.
France, the United States and Italy are certainly some of the countries that receive the most tourists during the year. But do you know which overseas countries and territories are the least visited in the world?
Before listing them, it is necessary to understand that tourism positively impacts several areas such as the market, the economy, security, environmental protection and cultural preservation.
However, in some countries, the number of international tourist arrivals has barely increased, for example, in small nations in Africa, Asia, Oceania and even Europe.
The data for organizing this ranking are indicated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The UNWTO annually publishes a survey listing which countries are the least visited by foreign tourists on the planet.
Least visited countries in Europe
#1. San Marino
The least-visited nation in Europe is San Marino. Despite its natural beauty and attractions, the country receives less than 100 thousand visitors per year. However, it is worth mentioning its charms that include a historic center, which dates back to the 13th century, with fortification towers, walls, gates and bastions. In addition, other attractions are the 19th-century neoclassical basilica and Piazza della Libertà, both declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2008, along with Mount Titano, on which they are based.
The second least visited country in Europe according to the United Nations Tourism Organization (WTO), is Liechtenstein. The country located on a German strip between Austria and Switzerland has stunning mountain scenery, suitable for hiking, mountain biking and winter sports, as well as the Vaduz Castle, a 12th-century fortress. In addition, the homonymous capital has a beautiful contemporary art gallery and a postal museum.
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Moldova was considered the third least visited country in Europe. Thus, this former Soviet republic located between Romania and Ukraine, whose capital is Chișinău, has medieval forts, Roman fortifications and an archaeological site with excavations showing buildings dating from the Paleolithic era.
Least visited countries in Asia
Despite being one of the most densely populated countries, Bangladesh is one of the least visited in the world. Often hit by floods, Bangladesh suffers from great poverty, but small-scale tourism exists in the form of walks and visits to its tea plantations. In addition, few tourists also visit the home of the Buddhist Vihara (monastery), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Paharpur.
Brunei is a small country on the island of Borneo and is home to lush rainforest, including Ulu Temburong National Park, where exotic animals can be seen. In addition, the country is also home to amazing Islamic architecture, including the mosque of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin.
Bhutan is considered the country of happiness, that is, it is the only country in the world that measures production by Gross Domestic Happiness, where more than 90% of its population claims to be happy. In addition to this curious feature, the nation is surrounded by valleys and fields where the plantations are still cultivated by plows, oxen and sickles.
Its low number of visitors may be due to the difficulty of access (only a few pilots are qualified to land at its precariously located airport), as well as a relatively underdeveloped infrastructure.
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Oceania least visited countries
#7. Marshall Islands
With about 6,000 visitors a year, the Marshall Islands are in seventh place on the list of least visited countries in the world. In order to protect life in the ocean, in 2011 the government of the Republic of Marshall Island declared a parcel of maritime territory to be allocated to the shark sanctuary, making it the largest shark sanctuary in the world.
Kiribati is an extremely geographically isolated nation that receives around 4000 visitors a year. Thus, Kiribati ranks fourth on the list of least visited countries in the world. The local population of Kiribati is extremely outgoing and friendly by nature. You can have the opportunity to participate in some local cultural activities and experience the life of Kiribati. However, the place has a strong cultural heritage as well as a very welcoming population. In addition, Kiribati is known as the largest coral island in the world and one of the dream destinations for deep-sea divers.
#9. Nauru (Island in the Pacific Ocean)
Officially called the Republic of Nauru, this is one of the smallest countries located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in addition to being one of the least visited in the world. With a population of approximately 10,800, Nauru has the title of the third smallest country in the world after Vatican City and Monaco. After World War II, Japan occupied Nauru, which became independent in 1968. The country was once known for its phosphate deposits, but currently reserves are almost depleted. In addition, Nauru has a literacy rate of 96%, however the country has the highest level of type 2 diabetes in the world, with more than 40% of the population affected, in addition to being one of the nations with the highest number of obese on the planet.
Tuvalu is another extremely remote country in Oceania, located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia. According to the OMT, Tuvalu receives around 2,000 tourists annually and places itself in the Top 5 of the ranking of least visited countries in the world. It is believed that the country’s location and limited accessibility are the main reasons for low development in tourism.
Least visited countries in Africa
Officially known as the Federal Republic of Somalia, the country was very receptive to tourists until the start of the civil war in the early 1990s. However, many warnings have been issued to tourists from time to time due to armed conflicts between the government and active terrorist groups. Thus, with less than 1000 tourists a year, Somalia is also one of the least visited countries in the world. Despite this, Somalia is known for its historic sites, countless beaches, huge waterfalls, mountain ranges and national parks. The country is also home to the coast, one of the longest on the African continent.
#12. Southern Sudan
South Sudan is the newest country in the world, which was separated from Sudan in 2011, with Juba being its largest city and also the capital of this nation. With almost 6000 visitors a year, South Sudan is also on the list of least visited countries in the world.
In this way, the territory is home to people of different religions (including Muslims, Christians and animists). Although South Sudan has suffered for many years from violent civil wars, along with some poor policies, it is highly praised for its hospitality.
#13. Equatorial Guinea
With a population of just over one million, Equatorial Guinea is the only African state that has Spanish as its official language. Thus, according to the country WTO registers around 5,500 visitors per year. The country is divided into island and continental regions. Thus, the island region consists of one of the most popular islands in Bioko and a volcanic island called Annobon. However, the tourism industry in this African state is largely underdeveloped, as the country has spent many years of international isolation.
Least visited countries in the Americas
#14. Dominica (island in the Caribbean Sea)
One of the most overlooked islands in the world is located in North America and has nine active volcanoes. However, although the volcanic landscape has attracted many adventurous travelers in recent years, the territory is considered to be one of the least visited in the world.
#15. French Guiana
The least visited destination in South America, ahead of Guyana and Suriname is this French Overseas Territory. Its capital, Cayenne, is known to be French in its coffee and culinary culture, but Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine are also offered here. The city’s architecture is also attractive with many wooden buildings still standing.
#16. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
From the same chain of islands as Aruba, Antigua and Barbados, this archipelago is a tourist attraction complete with sun, sand and parsley. Despite the incredible landscapes, these islands were neglected for a long time and for this reason it is part of the list of least visited countries in the world. However, poor tourism also results in a rare untouched corner in this stretch of sea.