The tourism industry generates substantial economic benefits to both host countries and tourists' home countries. Especially in developing countries, one of the primary motivations for a region to promote itself as a tourism destination is the expected economic improvement.
As with other impacts, this massive economic development brings along both positive and negative consequences.
According to the World Tourism Organization, 698 million people traveled to a foreign country in 2000, spending more US$ 478 billion. International tourism receipts combined with passenger transport currently total more than US$ 575 billion - making tourism the world's number one export earner, ahead of automotive products, chemicals, petroleum and food.