Visualizing and Ranking Tourist Inequality

Go here to see the interactive maps and indices.

According to the World Tourism Organization, there were over 1 billion international tourists in 2012. Many, but not all, of those travellers began their trips by acquiring a tourist visa. So to a degree, tourist visas play an important role in determining where you can and cannot easily travel around the world. About a month ago, a friend and classmate of mine was planning to go on a Kennedy School trip to Israel and Palestine. She got her tickets and applied for her visa to Israel and was all set to go. But when she arrived at Logan Airport and tried to check in to her flight, she was told she wouldn’t be allowed on the flight. The flight was connecting through Canada, and she’s a citizen of India and didn’t have a tourist visa for Canada. Who knew you couldn’t land at a Canadian airport without a visa if you have an Indian passport!?

The privilege to travel internationally is an awesome one, and one that can be easy for citizens of wealthier countries to take for granted. So we decided to see if we could find some data to explore differences in requirements for tourist visas across countries. There’s an index of economic freedom, an index of corruption perceptions, and lots of others as well, so why not an index of tourist inequality?

You can see the interactive maps and indices here.


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