Some countries welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, are well known for their amazing landmarks, incredible scenery and almost instantly recognisable attractions. But these are not the countries we are looking at today. No, instead we are going to give some much-needed attention to the underdogs.
These countries, in contrast, are the least visited in the world and have the lowest rates of tourism globally. But why exactly are these countries so avoided, and what is it about them that put off visitors to such an extent? Let’s find out!
San Marino – Europe
You probably thought these countries would be the least visited because they are in war-torn hellholes, out in the middle of scorching deserts, right? Well, you’d be wrong, as it just so happens that one of the least visited countries on earth is in Europe. It also happens to be in the mountains of Northern Italy, in a picturesque wonderland.
So, why does it see less than 60,000 visitors a year? Or more to the point, why does the number of visitors actually add up to more than the official population of the entire country? Basically, because no one knows it exists.
San Marino is the fifth smallest country in the world, and the oldest sovereign nation on the planet. In other words, it is a left over from times long, long past, and might as well not exist at all. But it does exist, and it is amazing to behold. San Marino is devoid of mod cons and cutting edge technology, and you can bet the only casino games played here are the ones that don’t involve a mobile phone or high speed Internet connection! It’s like a slice of an ancient world brought to life, and perhaps the fact that it remains one of the least visited destinations has actually helped preserve it!
Montserrat – The Caribbean
Here we have an island, a British Territory in the Caribbean, which is the stuff movie scripts are made of. It is home to a volcano that erupted as recently as 1995, and subsequently has an entire portion marked as a ‘No Entry’ zone, out of sheer fear that molten lava could end lives in one fell swoop. This is probably why only around 9,000 people dare make the trip to the island annually.
On the other hand, it also happens that the island is a laid back, charming paradise, with a special focus on Saint Patrick’s Day in March. All you need to do in order to visit is convince yourself that there is not an active volcano in close proximity, and you’ll be golden.
Tuvalu – South Pacific
Here we have the country that holds the crown for officially having the least visitors on earth, hands down. No more than around 2,000 visitors grace the shores of these islands in the South Pacific. What’s most interesting though, is that Tuvalu is still officially part of the British Empire, yet virtually no one is even still aware the islands exist.
Even more fascinating is that the islands do not have any political parties, have no armies of any kind, and have been entirely peaceful for many decades. So why does no one visit, besides not knowing about them? Well, because the islands are now at serious risk of sinking below the ocean for good, given their extremely low altitude. Bizarrely, the locals don’t seem too concerned, even if the area has been marked as a potential disaster zone. The lack of concern from the locals may, however, be because they barely acknowledge that the world beyond their own little paradise exists.
Sao Tome & Principe – Africa
Lastly, we have Sao Tome and Principe, the least visited country in Africa. Virtually ignored by the rest of the continent, the locals couldn’t care less that they are overlooked for nearby Gabon. They are happy to enjoy the white sandy beaches, lush forested areas, dolphins, whales, and exotic birds on their own. Visited mostly by adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts, the area sees only around 8,000 visitors a year.
Why then does Sao Tome and Principe welcome so few tourists every year? Because, once again, most people simply don’t know it exists, and rather head to Gabon. Though, it may also have to do with the fact that the locals are so relaxed and oblivious to the surrounding world that the area doesn’t offer much in the way of modern luxuries. In fact, the record of 8,000 visitors is from 2010, which is the last time that the country even bothered to put out a tourism report. This certainly doesn’t make the stunning area any less worth a visit of course, so if you’re looking for an African adventure, this could be it!