The World’s Least Visited Countries: Part 1

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The World Tourism Organisation estimates that in 2017, international tourism grew by 7%, which is its highest in seven years. It is heartwarming to know that in difficult financial times and political upheaval people still itch to travel. Though the U.S.A, Spain, France, China, and Thailand all currently boast some of the highest numbers of recorded tourists, many countries, unfortunately, miss out on the buzz of tourists regardless of high or low season. These were some of the least visited countries in the world as of data from the last five years, in no particular order.

Liechtenstein, Europe 

Credit: Liechtenstein via Wikimedia Commons

With a minuscule total area of 160km² nestled inconspicuously between Austria and Switzerland, German-speaking Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world. Despite its minuteness, Liechtenstein is an underrated spot, embedded in the Alps, perfect for winter sports and snowy getaways.

Why the low visitors?

Liechtenstein is usually overlooked in favor of its arguably more grandiose, more tourist-friendly neighbours by whom it is double-landlocked.

Moldova, Europe

Credit: Moldova via Wikimedia Commons

Wedged in between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is a quaint destination with vast countrysides and wineries to offer. Its capital Chişinău is increasing in popularity for those who enjoy an off-the-beaten-track adventure.

Why the low visitors?

Unfortunately dubbed the World’s Least Happiest Country around a decade ago, Moldova’s sad reputation has not helped its tourism figures, which made it the third least visited nation in Europe. It is reportedly relatively hard to get to and around and lacks iconic tourist hubs that draw the masses.

San Marino, Europe

Credit: San Marino – fdecomite via flickr

Another micro-state of but 61km², under half the size of the tiny Liechtenstein, the high-altitude, compact San Marino is within the geographical confines of Italy.

Why the low visitors?

Due to its size, a lot of visitors manage to cover San Marino in a day so hardly ever stay overnight. The allure of Italy and the wealth of tourist areas within it means that San Marino is often skipped in favor of the top Italian UNESCO sites and gelato-punctuated foodie endeavours.

 

Bhutan, Asia

Credit: Bhutan – jboots via Pixabay

The first Asian country on this list harbours opportunities to hike in the mountains and visit many Buddhist temples and monasteries, including the Tiger’s Nest.

Why the low visitors?

For many travellers, Bhutan is cumbersome to organise due to needing a visa upon entry and exit, and also requires a guide to be present at all times. Its mountainous location is supposedly difficult to access and only some pilots are qualified to land there.

Bangladesh, Asia

Credit: Bangladesh Flag – RonnyK via Pixabay

Bangladesh is a small, densely populated developing South-Asian country bordered by India and Myanmar. It hosts the beautiful Sunderbans mangrove forest and tea plantations.

Why the low visitors?

The country is poverty-stricken and there are very few tourist-friendly areas, especially outside of the capital Dhaka. Many people will miss this off their South-Asia travel itinerary due to the lack of attractive options for visitors.

 

Timor-Leste, Asia

Credit: East Timor via Wikimedia Commons

This is a country with fantastic scenery and opportunities for once in a lifetime scuba diving experiences in the eastern portion.

Why the low visitors?

This is the least-visited country in Asia. There is a significant crime problem due to political unrest; there used to be a large UN presence across the country to mediate the civil disruption which would undoubtedly make travellers feel unsettled and uncomfortable.

Though these countries may have their downsides, the most adventurous of roamers may simply see this as a conquerable challenge. As conditions are constantly changing, always make sure to check out the latest travel advice to make sure you’re trip-savvy and maybe you’ll catch some of these off-the-beaten-track locations on a good day.

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Sub-editor 2017/18. Third year Biology with Linguistics student. Interested particularly in global health, genetics and nutrition. Very disposed towards writing about things that haven't quite been explained yet.

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