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Interesting Facts from The Economist

Last night I thumbed through The Economist’s little pocket-sized book, World in Figures, 2004 edition.

Several interesting facts are revealed there. Here’s one on tourism.

– In 2001, the country with the largest number of tourist arrivals was France, with 76,503,000. A distant second was Spain, with 49,532,000. The United States was third, with 45,495,000. Assuming 2001 to be a typical year, these facts mean that France currently welcomes 60 percent more tourists each year than does the U.S.

– Also in 2001, the U.S. was far ahead of any other country in tourist receipts. U.S. tourist receipts in that year were $68.4 billion. France was a distant second, earning only $29.3 billion – a mere 43 percent of U.S. tourist receipts.

These facts mean that each tourist entering France spent an average of $383, while each tourist entering the U.S. spent an average of $1,503.

Here’s an interesting fact on per capita energy consumption. (These figures are for the year 2000.)

Qatar is by far the largest consumer of energy per capita, consuming 26,773 “kg of oil equivalent” per person. A distant second is Iceland, consuming 12,246 per capita.

The book notes that “consumption data for small countries, especially oil producers, can be unreliable, often leading to unrealistically high consumption per head rates.” So we might wisely refuse to draw firm conclusions from Qatar’s and Iceland’s high rankings on this front.

But scanning the same table on per-capita energy-consumption rates reveals that eighth-ranked U.S. consumes less energy per capita (8,148) than does seventh-ranked Canada (8,156).