Last year was a record-breaking year for tourism, and once again France remained firmly on top as the most-visited country in the world by international travellers.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released its “Tourism Highlights 2018 Edition”, which outlines just how many people travelled last year, and where they went. Around the world, international tourist arrivals grew by 7% – for a total of 1.3 billion international trips – making it the highest increase since 2010. Here were the top five most popular countries in 2017:
France - 86.9 million visitors
Once again, France is the top travel destination for people around the world. It’s not hard to see why – travellers continue to flock to Paris to indulge in culture and cuisine, the many incredible wine regions, and an endless number of historic sites.
Spain - 81.8 million
Spain overtook the US to become the second-most visited country in the world last year. Travellers heading to Spain find an incredibly diverse country with amazing landscapes, cuisine and of course, wine. It also boasts a number of famous islands – like Ibiza and Lanzarote – that continue to see tourists flocking year-round.
USA - 75.9 million
With an incredible mix of landscapes and cultures, travellers in the US can enjoy the open road as they journey along Route 66, or head to the bright lights of cities like Los Angeles or New York. There are also plenty of spots popular with adventurers, like the more far-flung states of Alaska and Hawaii.
China - 60.7 million
China leads the world in outbound travel, but millions of people are heading into the country each year to explore. As the world’s oldest continuous civilization, there is enough to astound any history-lover, but forward-looking travellers will find much to see in its astoundingly modern cities.
Italy - 58.3 million
Immortalized as a travel destination in films like Roman Holiday and Under the Tuscan Sun, Italy remains firmly in the top five most-visited places. Boasting cities like Rome, Florence, Venice and more, many people also head there to get out into the gorgeous countryside to enjoy the irresistible food and wine.