With its sunny, sandy beaches, tropical islands, rich wildlife, archaeological sites, temples and monasteries, and more, Thailand is a global tourist hot spot. The vibrant and lively festivals of country, the thriving nightlife, world-class shopping facilities, and delectable Thai cuisine, are all major tourist attractants in the country. It is estimated that directly and indirectly, tourism generated revenue contributes nearly 20.2% of the national GDP of the country. It is also assumed that by 2032, Thailand will be receiving around 100 million visitors. 2015 was a successful year for the country’s tourism industry when the hotel occupancy soared to 73.4%, a 13.6% rise from the previous year. Medical tourism in Thailand is also growing as international patients are now arriving here to receive world-class treatment at relatively lower costs that in their homeland.
Russia, a country hosting 23 World Heritage Sites is understandably one of the most visited countries in the world. Both nature and cultural tourism is popular in this country. Lake Baikal, volcanoes and geysers of Kamchatka, the Black Sea coasts, the Ruskeala Canyon, snowy mountains of Altai are some of the natural attractions in this country. Cultural hot spots here include the cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Novgorod, Kazan, and others with their numerous churches, museums, historical buildings, theaters, palaces, fortifications, and other sites steeped in centuries of history. The popularity of tourism in Russia is evident from the fact that in 2013, nearly 28.4 million tourists visited the country with $11.2 billion USD being generated as international tourism revenue by the Russia’s tourism industry the same year. In 2014, 29.8 million tourists spent their vacation in the country. Around 966,600 jobs in the Russian Federation are directly related to the travel and tourism industry in the country.
8. United Kingdom
With a long, interesting history, rich culture and well developed tourism facilities and infrastructure, the United Kingdom ranks as the 8th most visited country in the world. In 2014, the country welcomed 32.6 million visitors with foreign tourists generating an income of around $17.2 billion USD for the country. The majority of the foreign visitors touring the country arrive from other parts of Europe while tourists from the United States and Canada form the second largest group of foreign visitors to the country. The domestic tourism industry in the country is also thriving. London is the most visited city in the United Kingdom, and the Tower of London is the most popular attraction in the entire country.
Regarded as one of the safest tourist destinations in the world, Germany receives a high number of tourists from all across the globe as well as from within the country. As per records, over 30% of the Germans love to vacation within their own country. Foreigners also love to visit the country as evident from the fact that in 2014, 33 million foreign tourists toured Germany. In 2012, international tourism generated a tourism revenue of over $38 billion USD. The tourism industry in Germany is estimated to contribute 4.5% towards the national GDP and 2 million employment opportunities are created here based on travel and tourism related job requirements. Cultural tourism is most popular in the country with Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg being the most visited cities here. Visitations to the country for educational and business purposes is also quite common. Several protected areas within Germany, such as the Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, and the Jasmund National Park, also attract millions of tourists every year.
Turkey, the 6th most visited country in the world is well known for its rich cultural heritage and ethnic diversity. The country is endowed with a large number of historical, cultural and archaeological sites and charming seaside resorts along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts. In 2014, the country received 39.8 million international visitors. However, in 2015, the Turkish tourism industry suffered losses in the tourism sector due to a number of unfortunate incidences like attacks from the Islamic State (ISIS), the alleged shoot down of a Russian jet by Turkey, and the ensuing tension between the two countries. The capital of Turkey, Istanbul, is the most visited attraction in the country.
For many, Italy is one of the dream destinations of their life. With 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, innumerable cultural artifacts, buildings, and archaeological sites from the Roman Empire and the Renaissance periods, along with the quaint Alpine villages and towns in the north of the country and fascinating Mediterranean coasts to the south, Italy is justifiably the 5th most visited country in the world. Some of its most visited cities include Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan, each with their unique attractions, history, culture and cuisine. In 2014, 48.6 million tourists toured the country generating huge income for the country from the travel and tourism sector.
The land of the Great Wall of China, the Fiver Sacred Mountains, the Shaolin Temple, the Huangguoshu Waterfall, the Forbidden City, the Three Gorges, and other naturally, culturally and historically important sites, China is indeed one of the most coveted tourist destination in the world. The country received 55.6 million foreign visitors in 2014 and profited from a foreign exchange income of $45.8 USD in 2010. China’s tourist numbers are estimated to increase rapidly in the coming years with the World Trade Organization (WTO) estimating that by 2020 the country will rank number one in the worldwide tourism sector.
Tourism is a major industry in Spain, contributing nearly 11% to the national GDP of the country. In 2014, 65 million tourists toured Spain with the largest volume of tourists hailing from the European countries of United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. Historical cities and towns of the country like Barcelona and Madrid, the world-class resorts at the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of the country, the popular festivals like the Carnival and the Running of the Bulls, 15 national parks, well-developed winter tourism facilities, and a bustling nightlife, are some of the major tourist attractants in Spain. 13 Spanish cities are also regarded as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, attracting foreign visitors with their unique charm and significance.
2. United States
The United States is vast country serving a large number of attractions to the global travelers. Many of the U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas thrive with tourists all year round. Major natural attractions here include the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Alaskan subarctic wonders, the Hawaiian beaches and more. In 29 states of the country, the tourism industry is among the first three industries generating the maximum number of employment opportunities. U.S.A. receives the greatest number of foreign tourists from Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom and its domestic tourism industry is also highly active. In 2014, the country received over 74.8 million visitors and earned $1.47 trillion USD from tourist revenue. It is estimated that by 2025, the country will earn nearly $2.5 trillion USD from the travel and tourism sector.
France leads the world in the field of tourism with 83.7 million international tourists visiting the country in 2014. France hosts a variety of places of tourist interest like cities of cultural interest such as Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, the Alpine mountains, ski resorts, beaches, picturesque French villages, spectacular gardens and parks, and more. The country is home to 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are well recognized globally for their outstanding universal value. In France, 9.7% of the GDP is contributed by the travel and tourism sector. 30% of the revenue generated by tourism is obtained from foreign tourists, while the remaining 70% is derived from domestic tourism.