Most travelers view the tourism industry as a necessity to see and explore the world. However, tourism is one of the most profitable industries worldwide. In 2022, travel and tourism made two trillion US dollars. With hotels, transportation, dining, and other accommodations bringing in so much cash, tourism is a prime strategy for destinations to employ to boost the local economy and appeal.  

The tourism industry has transformed destinations across the globe throughout history. Some of the most remote places have morphed into popular vacation hubs for tourists. For better or worse, it’s no doubt that tourism has had a powerful impact on some of the most beloved destinations of international travelers. 

Here are a few destinations that have been transformed by tourism over the last few decades.


view of city in Greece - destinations transformed by tourism
Photo Credit: Bloomberg

One of the most successful tourism transformation sagas has to go to Greece. The country’s tourism board launched the Xenia Project in 1951. Designed to transform the country into an international tourism hub, Greece employed the best of the best when it came to designers and architects to recreate the image of the Mediterranean destination. 

The Xenia Project birthed forth the version of Greece travelers know and love today. Designs from architect Aris Konstantinidis brought forth the incredible hotels, shops, and restaurants that would fill the country’s white-washed walls.

In just a decade, Greece increased its tourism rate by 1,098 percent. Currently, tourism makes up for one-fifth of the country’s economy. 


A country with a rich history, Montenegro has increasingly grown in popularity amongst tourists. The country secured its independence in 2006 and has spent the last decade building its travel and tourism infrastructure to accommodate visitors.

Now, tourism accounts for 25 percent of its economy. Considering itself a niche destination, Montenegro is positioning itself as a leader in entertainment tourism as the country continues to evolve. 


Photo Credit: Karim Sahib

There’s so much to say about Dubai. For millennial and Gen-Z luxury travelers, the Emirates is exactly where they need to be. However, Dubai originally was a small Gulf port.

Today, Dubai is number one on travel bucket lists around the world. The best of the best in hotels, restaurants, and shopping can be found in this Gulf city. Dubai launched a tourism strategy in 2013 designed to attract 20 million visitors per year by 2020. Since initiating the strategy, Dubai has seen a 625 percent increase in visitor arrivals.

Medellin, Colombia

Despite having a history blemished by drug trafficking, crime, and violence, tourists worldwide have been falling in love with Medellin. In 2019, the city saw a 50 percent increase in visiting tourists which created 290,000 new jobs for locals. It has also become a hotspot for Black expats.

Vilnius, Lithuania 

Dubbed the European Capital of Culture in 2009, Vilnius shines as the capital of Lithuania. The country was the first to declare independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Since then, tourism has continued to be a growing industry throughout Lithuania.

Vilnius is the country’s most popular travel destination. Since gaining its independence, visitors in Vilnius have increased by 885 percent.

RELATED: ‘Future Of Tourism Survey’ Shows Travelers Want Change In The Industry