Special Report

Destinations Where Tourists Outnumber Locals

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3. Palau
> International tourists: 6.83 per resident
> International tourist arrivals: 123,000
> Population 18,000

As tourism in the remote island nation of Palau grows yearly, reaching almost seven times the local population in 2017, damage to the country’s delicate ecosystems is mounting. In December of 2017, the country instituted a mandatory pledge for visitors, in which they must agree to be environmentally conscious and tread lightly during their trip. The pledge will help protect Palau’s barrier reef and coral atolls, Rock Islands (a series of limestone peaks), Jellyfish Lake (containing over five million of a species of jellyfish only found in this location), and Clear Lake (a 12,000- to 15,000-year-old saline lake).

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2. Aruba
> International tourists: 9.65 per resident
> International tourist arrivals: 1.1 million
> Population 111,000

Out of the five Caribbean countries on our list, Aruba has the most tourists per resident. This may be due to a multitude of factors. It’s known to be one of the safer Caribbean islands in terms of crime and also hurricane danger. The water is some of the cleanest in the world, and each year residents and tourists participate in a beach clean-up day. American tourists — as well as visitors from about 90 other countries — don’t need a visa to enter, and all the major resorts have their own casinos. Perhaps best of all for travelers from the United States is that most businesses take U.S. dollars.

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1. Macau SAR
> International tourists: 26.42 per resident
> International tourist arrivals: 17.3 million
> Population 653,000

Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China, was under Portuguese rule for over 400 years until 1999, when it returned to Chinese authority. Since then, it has become the largest gambling city in the world by revenue, with over 30 casinos, and is the sole gambling destination for Chinese citizens, as it’s the one legal place to gamble in China. Over 70% of visitors come from China, and the casinos are tailored to Chinese customers, many featuring baccarat, Asians’ game of choice.

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