The rise of the Chinese tourist is the rise of a confident red line

The best of Datawrapper charts 2018, part 3

This week, we’re back to a line chart. And this week, it even shows development over time (remember two weeks ago, when this was not the case? Crazy). But you might be reluctant to call the following a “line chart”, anyway:

Maybe you know this kind of chart type as a “rank chart”. Roberto Rocha, a data journalist at CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) created this chart in June for an article about Canada’s tourism industry. And I’m so glad he did – I didn’t even know that rank charts are possible with Datawrapper. He explains his process here:

I know I wanted to show the rapid rise of China as a source of tourists to Canada. I first tried a bump chart from RAWGraphs, which also encodes quantities with width as well as rank with position. But the result was cluttered and confusing. I then removed the quantities to just show rank, and realized Datawrapper could do this easily as a line chart. The option to show the line in a curved interpolation gave it a nice visual effect.

One of the main reasons I like this chart so much is its simplicity. There’s a single statement made – Chinese tourists come to Canada more often – and it’s made boldly in red. “This is the one fact you should take away from this chart”, the red line shouts. “Look at me. Feel free to explore the other lines in this chart as well, but first, look at me.” I’ve talked about the power of designing a visual hierarchy to lead your reader’s eye before. Robertos’ chart is a great, great example of that.


Find Roberto on Twitter as @robroc or visit his portfolio with lots of other great data vis work. I’ll see you next week – for the last Weekly Chart of the year 2018!

We have updated our Privacy Policy to reflect the new EU regulations. Please give it a read (it is written with the goal of clarity) and click here to accept it.