As compared to the past, people are now travelling to more countries and more often. We can assume the growth in the travel and tourism industry by the fact that over a billion tourists might have traveled the world in 2015, up by roughly 15 million as compared to years in past. In the year 2014, every region in the world saw an about 5% increase in tourism except Africa. Africa remained the big exception as tourism in the country drop by almost 6%. According to the forecasts of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourism has grown by 3% to 4% in 2015, further contributing to the global economic recovery.
So what are the countries which remain at the top of the list of most visiting countries and why? Let’s have a look:
France remained supreme for worldwide tourism and has been from many years. In 2014, it drew over 84 million travelers and it doesn’t surprise us much, as why it is sitting at the top of this list. The country has a rich cultural history with nearly 40 UNESCO world heritage sites. The most visited city in France is Paris, which is known for its couture fashion houses, classical art museums. Top visited destinations in the city include the art museum Louvreand needless to say, the famous monument Eiffel tower. It also shares the border with eight other European countries, making it easily accessible from many people. France offers a multitude of vacation options, from ski resorts to Mediterranean beaches.
US remained the second in the list of the most visited countries with 74 million travelers visiting the country. Although the US is behind the France in terms of travelers, but its revenue from the tourism industry is more than thrice, i.e. 215 US billion dollars, compared to France’s, 66 US billion dollars. According to the experts, this is because the stay in the US generally lasts longer than many of the French weekend getaways. America has about 2,500 national historic landmarks and the Times Square, a major commercial intersection and neighborhood in New York City is the most visited attraction.
Spain comes third in the most popular destination for tourists. With the third highest number of UNESCO world heritage sites and sunny beaches around, Spain draws a crowd of about 60 million a year. It accounts for as much as 11% of their GDP. In the past few years, Spain has seen a large jump in the number of visitors. This might be due to the affect of the terrorist attacks in the beach vacation spots of Egypt and Turkey. Additionally, Spain draws Spanish speakers from Latin America which gives it a boost over Italy’s tourist industry. Apart from Barcelona, being the favorite among the travelers, there are many other towns, villages and small cities worth visiting.
It has been noticed in the recent years that the East is slowly opening its doors to tourism. If you have patience to obtain a visa and other time taking entry procedures, then make yourself ready for a real treat. China has spent huge amount of money on their travel industry in the last decade. Chinese tourists are now the biggest source of travel spending and considered as the primary source of tourists being the fourth largest recipient of foreign travelers, and the number stood at 55.6 million travelers.
Italy has made a powerful mark on the western culture and cuisine. Rich in art, ancient ruins, treasures, artisans and with its popular cities including Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan, the country welcomed around 48.6 million tourists in the year 2014. There is so much to discover in the country and the amount of fun you get with its history, culture, liveliness, food, summer beaches, coastal scenery, lakes and mountains is unmatchable.
Although the tourism industry took a huge downfall in the late 2000 global economic downturn, it has been slowly recovering and today it is known to be an invaluable source of capital for many countries.