The National Park Service has estimated that nearly 30% of Grand Canyon National Park’s 4.5 million annual visitors reside overseas. This seems most appropriate given Grand Canyon’s status as a World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Less is known about the specific nationalities of these foreign visitors. Brits, Germans and Japanese are some of the most frequent countries of origin, though numbers largely depend on the relative strength of worldwide economies. For example, during the Asian financial crisis in the late 90s, far fewer Pacific Rim visitors were able to make the expensive journey. Lately I have noticed a large increase in tourists hailing from China and the Indian subcontinent. This should come as no surprise given the emerging muscle in their respective economies. A growing middle class typically results in more citizens with the means, and desire, to travel.
What I find most interesting is that, regardless of one’s point of origin or cultural background, the Grand Canyon has a common mesmerizing impact on all. For this writer, the world feels a bit smaller as a result, and it brings me hope that we can find peaceful means to bridge our differences.