The World Tourism Organization recently reported that international tourism is continuing to grow and is "outpacing the global economy". In 2019, 1.5 billion tourist arrivals were recorded around the world, a 4% increase on 2018's figures. The Middle East is currently the fastest-growing region for international tourism, but European countries such as France, Spain and Italy remain the most visited. Find out the top 10 world's most visited countries below:
10. United Kingdom: 36 million tourists
In 2019, the United Kingdom welcomed 36 million tourists to its towns and cities. London is the country's most visited city, with approximately 12 million visitors each year. Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester are also popular city destinations. Tourism produces around USD 131 billion for the country and provides over two million jobs. American residents are the most frequent visitors, followed by those who live in France. Some of the UK's most popular tourist attractions include Big Ben, the Tower of London and Stonehenge.
9. Thailand: 38 million tourists
Thailand has been a popular tourist destination for decades thanks to its white-sand beaches, delicious cuisine and hot weather. Bangkok, Thailand's capital, frequently holds the top spot as the world's most visited city. It attracts around 22 million visitors each year. The 1,430 islands of Thailand draw in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, some of the islands are heralded as being some of the best in the world. Thailand's most popular spots include Railay Beach, Koh Phi Phi and The Grand Palace of Bangkok.
8. Germany: 39 million tourists
Germany is famous for its beer, sausages and picturesque castles. The country welcomes around 39 million tourists each year, with approximately 13 million visiting Berlin, Germany's capital city. Tourism in Germany generates two million jobs for its residents and contributes over 4% towards the country's GDP.
7. Mexico: 41 million tourists
Mexico, located in the southern part of North America, is rapidly becoming a favorite tourist destination. People from all over the world are visiting the vibrant country to enjoy the pristine beaches, explore the deep history and culture, and discover UNESCO World Heritage sites. Over the last decade, tourism has significantly contributed to Mexico's employment and economy. In 2019, the government announced a six-year strategy to boost tourism and improve conditions for workers within the industry. Some of the country's most visited destinations are Cancun, Mexico City, and Playa del Carmen.
6. Turkey: 46 million tourists
Located on two continents, Turkey offers a unique blend of East and West. Edged by the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, Turkey has an abundance of stunning coastlines and charming resorts. Tourists also enjoy visiting Turkey's capital, Ankara as well as the resort-city of Antalya. It was reported that over 15 million vacationers visited Antalya in 2019. Antalya is popular thanks to its proximity to beaches and remnants of Turkey's rich history. Famous tourist attractions in Turkey include the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sofia Museum.
5. Italy: 62 million tourists
Italy has culture, history and cuisine in abundance, making it a very popular tourist destination for people all around the globe. Italy has a varied landscape that suits all traveler types; there are snow-covered peaks, sprawling vineyards and glittering coastlines. Not to mention the beautiful cities like Rome, Naples and Florence. There are 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites dotted throughout the country showcasing the best of Italian history. Some of Italy's best-loved attractions include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum and the Pantheon.
4. China: 63 million tourists
China, the third-largest country in the world, is in the world's top five tourist destinations because of its natural landscapes, expansive history and delicious cuisine. Tourism in China is a growing industry that is becoming a significant part of the country's economy. In 2018, tourism contributed 11.04% of China's overall GDP, which increased a further 1.2% in 2019. Famous attractions include The Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
3. United States: 80 million tourists
Tourism is one of the United States' biggest contributors to the country's GDP. The industry supports over 7 million jobs, and in 2017, tourism generated USD 1.6 trillion in economic output. Cities such as New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles experience high numbers of tourists all year round, with New York being the most visited city in the country. Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and China are the top five countries that make up the majority of US tourism.
2. Spain: 83 million tourists
Spain is the second most visited country in both the world and Europe. Tourism accounts for 12% of Spain's economy and provides 13% of jobs. The majority of tourists who visit the country come from Europe; it is the warm weather, pristine beaches and bustling cities that attract millions of vacationers. Some of Spain's most famous landmarks include La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Alhambra.
1. France - 89 million tourists
Attracting over 89 million tourists each year, France is the world's most visited country. Paris, France's capital city, draws in around 17 million tourists a year; 7 million of those visit the Eiffel Tower. Tourism in France represents 9.7% of the overall GDP and provides 2.9 million jobs. The majority of France's visitors come from other European countries, with over 12 million coming from the United Kingdom. Disneyland, the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral are some of France's most visited attractions.