In 2019, the global travel and tourism industry generated $8.9 trillion in revenue. Although the COVID-19 epidemic has lowered that number to a fraction of its prior value, all indications point to tourism growing, expanding, and evolving.
There is something to see and do in every country on the planet, but which nations are the most popular with tourists?
Travelers are drawn to Europe because of its rich cultural heritage and its, architectural splendor and historical significance. Other popular destinations include those located near or on a body of water, such as those that have magnificent beaches and views of the ocean.
The Top 10 Tourist Destinations in the World (by the number of 2019 visitor arrivals):
- France – 90.0 million
- Spain – 83.7 million
- United States – 79.3 million
- China – 65.7 million
- Italy – 64.5 million
- Turkey – 51.2 million
- Mexico – 45.0 million
- Thailand – 39.8 million
- Germany – 39.6 million
- United Kingdom – 39.4 million
The Eiffel Tower, many world-class restaurants, the Musée du Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Notre-Dame cathedral, the beaches of the Côte d’Azur, and Disneyland Paris have made France the most popular tourist destination in the world for more than 30 years.
Furthermore, the lushly lovely landscape is dotted with fairytale towns, mountains, vineyards, and even a castle or two. The ancient cave paintings at Lascaux date back millions of years. Paris, the capital of France, is the most popular European city, with 38 million visitors in 2019.
Another country is brimming with fascinating sights in Spain.
Barceloneta’s Guggenheim museum, Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Europe’s biggest aquarium, the lily-shaped L’Oceanogràfic, Gran Canaria beaches, and Barcelona’s La Rambla are just a few of the city’s many attractions designed by Antoni Gaudi.
Tenerife’s Parque Nacional del Teide is also home to El Teide, an old but not fully inactive volcano that tourists may explore on foot.
Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and the British Museum, which has the biggest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Cairo, are just a few of London’s most popular attractions.
Outside of London, the intriguing Stonehenge, Liverpool’s home of the Beatles, the picturesque Cotswolds, and the Eden Project’s futuristic botanical gardens are just some of England’s many attractions.
In addition, the United Kingdom is divided into three regions. The first stop is Scotland, which includes Edinburgh, Loch Ness, Inverness, the Highlands, the famed St. Andrews golf course, and a variety of other tourist attractions. Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales, and it is a beautiful place to visit.
Last but not least, Northern Ireland is home to the vibrant nightlife of Dublin’s Temple Bar neighborhood, the scenic glens and coastline of Antrim, and the Giant’s Causeway, one of Europe’s most captivating natural marvels.
Hagia Sophia cathedral and Topkapi Palace, Ephesus, the fantasy city of Cappadocia, and Mount Nemrut’s barren fallen magnificence, are only some of Turkey’s man-made and archaeological treasures.
There are many natural beauties in Turkey, such as the famed beaches of lüdeniz and Patara, Pamukkale’s mineral spas, and the Mediterranean coast itself.
As the “Land of Smiles,” Thailand is a great destination for anyone looking for contemporary conveniences and untamed adventure. Bangkok, the Thai capital, welcomes nearly 20 million tourists each year.
The Grand Palace in Bangkok, the beaches of Railay, Long, and Monkey Beach, the ancient city of Ayutthaya, and the elaborate Buddhist pagoda Coi Suthep are among the most popular tourist sites.
COVID-19’s effect on tourism and travel
In 2020-21, the COVID-19 epidemic decimated the travel and tourism sector. The World Travel & Tourist Council estimates that the pandemic will cost the sector 4.5 trillion dollars by 2020, resulting in the loss of 62 million jobs in the tourism industry.
Statistics compiled by the UNWTO corroborates these findings. Take a look at this table:
Arrivals of tourists from outside the country:
2020 saw a 74% decline in tourists compared to the previous year, with more than a billion fewer people worldwide, making it the worst year ever for tourism. An estimated US$ 1.3 trillion in income losses and up to 100-120 million jobs in danger have been estimated by the UNTWO.
Tourism-dependent nations have felt the brunt of the damage the most acutely. Gambling revenues in Macau, a special administrative area of China, fell by 79.3 percent throughout the year, resulting in a 43.1 percent reduction in GDP for 2020.
Despite a minor increase in travel in 2021, the pre-pandemic figures are still far off. Projections for the industry’s recovery in late 2020 were optimistic, but the persistent nature of the epidemic has shattered that confidence.
A return to 2019 levels (pre-COVID) is not expected until at least 2023, according to most forecasts as of late 2021.
Also Check: Least Racist Countries 2022
Here are the top ten most-visited nations in the world:
- France (89,400,000)
- Spain (83,700,000)
- United States (79,300,000)
- China (65,700,000)
- Italy (64,500,000)
- Turkey (51,200,000)
- Mexico (45,000,000)
- Thailand (39,800,000)
- Germany (39,600,000)
- United Kingdom (39,400,000)
|Country||International Tourist Arrivals|
|United Arab Emirates||16700000|