Have You Heard of The World’s Least Visited Country?
With approximately 200 visitors annually, Nauru is the least visited country in the world*. So don’t feel too bad if you’ve never heard of it.
Once one of the richest countries in the world, it is now one of the poorest. It has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, is the world’s smallest island nation – and the third smallest country in the world overall. It’s only 21 square kilometres big, and there really isn’t much to do there.
The visa is difficult to obtain, it’s isolated and far from pretty much any other country, and it’s difficult to get to.
So it’s not difficult to see how Nauru won itself the status of the least visited country in the world.
Population – 10,000
Area – 21km2 (8.1sq mi)
Currency – Australian dollar
Total annual visitors – Approx. 200
Where is the World’s Least Visited Country
Nauru is a tiny island nation located in Micronesia.
It lies between Australia and Hawaii in the Pacific ocean.
A History of the World’s Least Visited Country
Nauru’s history is both bizarre and tragic. In the 80s, it was one of the richest countries in the world. But by 2017 it was listed in the top 5 poorest countries. And this basically because of bird poo.
Nauru gained independence in 1968 after having been colonised by various countries including Germany and the UK over the years.
With the help of its rich phosphate resources, Nauru suddenly started to rake in the cash. There is a large population of seagulls using the island as a nesting spot, meaning that lots of rich phosphate resources were being produced. Companies use such phosphates to produce fertilisers, amongst other things.
The country started mining this and the economy boomed. The islanders found themselves able to buy cars, large houses, and the booming economy also meant a boom in new infrastructure. Nauru Air, the country’s only airline was also founded, helping to import western food to the island.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Due to over-mining, the phosphate resources ran out and the country fell into debt. By the early 2000s, most of these resources had almost entirely disappeared.
Nauru then takes another place in history as it becomes an off-shore centre to deal with (and deter) the large amount of refugees coming into Australia. Word soon got around that the conditions in these centres were pretty awful and Australia closed the centre down, reopening it again in 2021. It is almost impossible as a journalist to visit Nauru as both Australia and Nauru attempt to keep these renters on the down-low.
Due to years of over-mining, 70% of Nauru is now uninhabitable. Unemployment is over 90% and the detention camps remain open.
Why Travel to the World’s Least Visited Country
There isn’t much to see and do in Nauru in terms of sights and activities, but that’s one of the beautiful things about it. It’s still an island in the pacific ocean – and white a paradise one at that. Enjoy the palm trees and beaches, swimming and snorkelling.
You can also go on a hike up to Command Ridge. This is the highest point in Nauru and from here you will get great views of the whole country.
Once you’ve checked out the (very few) things Nauru has to offer, pick up a book and sit back and get used to island life.
How to Travel to the World’s Least Visited Country
There is only one airline serving Nauru; Nauru Air. The main gateways to Nauru are via Fiji and Australia – and the flights are pretty darn expensive and don’t go every day.
Most nationals need a visa for Nauru, and these can be difficult to get due to restrictions on journalists. Visa applications can be expensive and take weeks to be approved.
Getting there is the hard bit, but once you’re there, getting around Nauru isn’t all that difficult. It’s only 21 square kilometres – so why spend the day and go for a walk around the entire country..!
*With little information on tourism to many least visited countries there is various contradictory information. Nauru has held the title of the least visited country in the world for many years, but there is also information stating Tuvalu as the least visited country in the world. A lot of statistics also don’t include war-torn countries such as Yemen and Syria also affecting the accuracy of tourism statistics.