The United States is relatively young by world standards, being less than 250 years old. America was the first of the European colonies to separate successfully from its motherland, and it was the first nation to be established on the premise that sovereignty rests with its citizens and not with the government. In the 20th century, the United States emerged as a world power. The nation’s wealth is partly a reflection of its rich natural resources and its enormous agricultural output, but it owes more to the country’s highly developed industry. Despite its relative economic self-sufficiency in many areas, the United States is the most important single factor in world trade by virtue of the sheer size of its economy.
The United States’ physical environment ranges from the Arctic to the subtropical, from the moist rain forest to the arid desert, from the rugged mountain peak to the flat prairie. Although the total population of the United States is large by world standards, its overall population density is relatively low. The country embraces some of the world’s largest urban concentrations as well as some of the most extensive areas that are almost devoid of habitation.
Tourism in the United States is a large industry that serves millions of international and domestic tourists yearly. Tourists visit the US to see natural wonders, cities, historic landmarks, and entertainment venues. Americans seek similar attractions, as well as recreation and vacation areas. In the US, tourism is either the first, second, or third largest employer in 29 states. As of 2016, Orlando is the most visited destination in the United States. Tourists spend more money in the United States than any other country, followed by France. One hundred million tourists visited Florida in 2015, a record for the nation.
England, the predominant unit of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), occupies more than half the island of Great Britain. With over 65 million inhabitants, England is by far the most populous country of the United Kingdom. England's long and storied history and pervasive culture spread worldwide through the English language and made England a popular tourist destination. The United Kingdom is the world's eighth biggest tourist destination, with over 36 million visitors in 2015.
The country's principal tourist destinations are in London, with the Tower of London being the single most visited attraction in the country. The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the National Portrait Gallery, and Westminster Abbey are only a few of London’s hugely popular attractions. London is a multicultural, modern hub for the arts and business.
As part of the United Kingdom, the basic political system in England is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system and England's economy is one of the largest in the world, with its currency being the pound sterling. The south of England is mostly low lying land with hills and agricultural land, and the north of England is mostly covered in moorland and mountains. The Channel Tunnel, opened in 1994, connects the 21-mile gap between England and France. English people consume more tea per capita than anybody else in the world (2.5 times more than the Japanese and 22 times more than the Americans or French!
Wales is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain with over 1,680 miles of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas. Over 50 islands lie off the Welsh mainland; the largest being Anglesey, in the northwest. Often referred to as "the land of song,” Wales is notable for its harpists, male choirs, and solo artists. The population is 3.168 million.
Although Wales closely shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, and the vast majority of the population speaks English, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, and the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west. Cardiff is the capital and biggest city in Wales and the tenth biggest city in the UK.
Although Wales has its own traditional food, it has absorbed much of the cuisine of England and Welsh diets now owe more to the countries of India, China and the United States. Both beef and dairy cattle are raised widely, but Wales is more well known for its sheep farming and thus lamb is the meat traditionally associated with Welsh cooking. Chicken tikka masala is the country's favourite dish while hamburgers and Chinese food outsell fish and chips as a takeaway.
Scotland, the UK’s northernmost country, is a land of mountain wildernesses and northwest highlands, interspersed with glacial valleys and lakes, covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain. Scotland is comprised of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles. Despite the fact that Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, the biggest city is Glasgow, famed for its vibrant cultural scene, and is home to a little more than 584,000 occupants. The greater Glasgow area has a population of just about 1.2 million and is home to almost a quarter of Scotland’s 5.4 million population. Redheads! Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world - 13%! The official languages are English, Gaelic and Scots.
Tourism is one of Scotland’s most lucrative assets, focusing on such attractions as golf, walking and its rich history. The game of golf was first played at the Old Course in St. Andrews in the 1400s. In industry, too, the country is pioneering and enterprising. Key business sectors include life sciences, electronic technologies, energy and financial services. Scotland also boasts a thriving export market with an impressive global reach, especially in food and drink – including Scotland’s
Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by an act of the British parliament. Northern Ireland has traditionally had an industrial economy, most notably in shipbuilding, rope manufacturing and textiles, but 70% of the economy’s revenue now comes from the service sector -- the most important of which is tourism.
Key tourism attractions include the historic cities of Derry, Belfast and Armagh and the many castles in Northern Ireland. The country is known for its Norman castles, glacial valleys and mountains, Celtic and Christian monuments, and coastal links golf courses. The capital city of Belfast includes the Titanic Quarter, showcasing the redeveloped dockyards where the famous ship was built and a contemporary museum, Titanic Belfast.
Northern Ireland's population has reached a record high with the number of people now registered as 1.85 million.
France has long been a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts Europe's fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. France is ranked as the first tourist destination in the world, ahead of the US and China. The capital and by far the most important city of France is Paris, one of the world’s preeminent cultural and commercial centers and is known as the “City of Light.”
France, especially Paris, has some of the world's largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre, which is the most visited art museum in the world, and the Musée d'Orsay. Disneyland Paris is Europe's most popular theme park, with 15 million combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park in recent years. The country encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. The country is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion. With more than 10 million tourists a year, the French Riviera in southeast France is the second leading tourist destination in the country with 300 days of sunshine per year,
France is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps and the Pyrenees, France has long provided a geographic, economic, and linguistic bridge joining northern and southern Europe. It is Europe’s most important agricultural producer and one of the world’s leading industrial powers. The current population is 66.7 million.