In this age of digital connection, travelers and bloggers fill our screens with their awe-inspiring escapades and breathtaking locations. These global adventures prompt a question that whispers to the heart of every budding globetrotter – what are the most visited countries in the world? Where should we stamp our passports next? Identifying these top travel destinations provides valuable insights for everyone in the tourism industry as well as travel enthusiasts.
The period between 2020 and 2022 was tumultuous for the tourism sector, largely due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, despite these challenges, the sector demonstrated resilience. According to the World Tourism Organization’s “World Tourism Barometer,” international tourism managed to recover to 63% of pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, a total of 917 million international tourists navigated the globe.
The easing of travel restrictions and the pent-up demand for travel resulted in a 102% increase in international tourism compared to 2021. Although these figures do not match the pre-pandemic levels, they mark a substantial recovery, signifying promising prospects for 2023. As the world gears up for the revival of tourism, it’s time to delve into the ten most visited countries, according to the most recent data from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer in 2023.
The 10 most visited countries in the world
If you’re planning to refresh your travel itinerary, consider the following countries:
1. France: 48.4 million visitors
France, the world’s most visited country in 2022, drew 48.4 million tourists. Known for its cultural heritage, grand architecture, and idyllic landscapes, France also boasts a distinguished culinary scene, making it a favorite for food enthusiasts worldwide.
Major Attractions: Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles, French Riviera, Mont St-Michel.
2. Mexico: 31.9 million visitors
Mexico clinches second place with 31.9 million visitors. Celebrated for its lively culture, historic architecture, and thriving art scene, Mexico’s diverse landscapes offer various adventures, making it an irresistible destination for travelers.
Major Attractions: Tulum, Teotihuacan, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Oaxaca City.
3. Spain: 31.2 million visitors
With 31.2 million visitors, Spain ranks third. From vibrant cities like Barcelona and Madrid to the tranquil hills of Picos de Europa and the sandy stretches of Menorca, Spain’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and mouth-watering cuisine make it a top travel choice.
Major Attractions: La Familia Sagrada, The Alhambra, El Retiro, Mallorca’s beaches.
4. Türkiye: 29.9 million visitors
Türkiye, attracting 29.9 million visitors, comes fourth. Türkiye’s charm lies in its fusion of rich history and vibrant modernity. The sun-drenched ruins and bustling cities narrate tales of its glorious past. The stunning landscapes, from rock formations to glittering lakes, offer ample adventures. Türkiye’s unique culinary offerings add to its allure.
Major Attractions: Sultan Ahmet Camii, Kacker Mountains, Patara Beach, Lake Egirdir.
5. Italy: 26.9 million visitors
Renowned for its world-class art and architecture, Italy attracted 26.9 million visitors, placing it fifth on the list. From Byzantine designs and masterpieces by Da Vinci to Rome’s ancient ruins, Italy is a cultural treasure trove. Its diverse landscape, spanning from coral reefs to the Alps, complements a renowned cuisine that’s both rich and delightful.
Major Attractions: Roman Forum, Tuscany’s Vineyards, Amalfi Coast, St. Peter’s Basilica.
6. United States: 22.1 million visitors
The United States, with its rich blend of metropolises and small-town charms, drew 22.1 million tourists. America’s appeal lies in its diverse cityscapes and extensive road networks ideal for hopping and tripping. From vibrant New York City to the serene Grand Canyon, the U.S. offers a rich tapestry of experiences underpinned by a soundtrack of jazz, country, and rock.
Major Attractions: New York City, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon, Miami beaches.
7. Greece: 14.7 million visitors
With 14.7 million visitors, Greece is the 7th most visited country. Known for its ancient ruins and charming coastal cities, Greece offers a timeless journey through history. Its mainland and islands each have unique appeals, from romantic Mykonos to the whitewashed cliffs of Santorini. In Greece, every twist and turn is an invitation to connect with tales older than time.
Major Attractions: Acropolis of Athens, Poseidon Temple, Parthenon, Meteora Monasteries.
8. Austria: 12.7 million visitors
Austria, a hub of rich history and culture, welcomed 12.7 million visitors, making it the 8th most visited country globally. The country boasts magnificent landscapes, from the towering Alps to architectural wonders. Austria invites travelers to savor traditional delicacies, wander through Vienna’s historic city, and delve into the charm of Salzburg.
Major Attractions: Schönbrunn Palace, Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg Cathedral.
9. Germany: 11.7 million visitors
Germany, the land of great thinkers and creatives, welcomed 11.7 million visitors. The country offers a blend of contemporary architecture, iconic museums, and a rich cultural heritage. Whether it’s the urban grandeur of Berlin and Munich or the serene beauty of rural Germany, the country offers a diverse array of experiences.
Major Attractions: Pergamon Museum, Schloss Neuschwanstein, Zwinger.
10. United Arab Emirates: 11.5 million visitors
Hosting 11.5 million visitors, the United Arab Emirates ranks as the 10th most visited country. Known for its luxury lifestyle, the UAE presents sun-soaked cities brimming with architectural wonders, bustling souks, and pristine beaches. Whether it’s iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa or cultural experiences, the UAE offers an adventure for every explorer.
Major Attractions: Burj Khalifa, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dubai Mall.
The most visited countries have unique stories and vibrant cultures
Travel is an opportunity to learn, experience, and connect with the diverse world around us. Whether you’re marveling at architectural wonders, soaking in picturesque landscapes, or indulging in unique cuisines, every journey leaves an indelible imprint on the traveler. The most visited countries, with their unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, stand as a testament to the boundless allure of travel.
From the romantic streets of France to the sun-soaked cities of the UAE, these countries continue to capture the hearts of travelers. As borders open up and the world begins to travel again, these destinations are waiting to offer their unique stories, vibrant cultures, and unforgettable experiences.