The Top 5 Countries with the Most Tourist Visits 2010

  Country Tourist Visits 2010 Percent Change
(from 2009)
Global Tourist Share
1 France 76.8 million visits 0.0% 8.17%
2 United States 59.7 million visits + 8.7% 6.35%
3 China 55.7 million visits + 9.4% 5.92%
4 Spain 52.7 million visits + 1.0% 5.60%
5 Italy 43.6 million visits + 0.9% 4.63%
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  1. The most significant change among the top five by international arrivals in 2010 was the rise of China to third position, ousting Spain, having overtaken both the United Kingdom and Italy during the past few years. (a.).
  2. In 2010, international tourism receipts are estimated to have reached US$ 919 billion worldwide (693 billion euros), up from US$ 851 billion (610 billion euros) in 2009, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 4.7%. Worldwide, international tourism rebounded strongly in 2010, with international tourist arrivals up 6.6% over 2009, to 940 million. The increase more than offset the decline caused by the economic downturn, with an additional 23 million arrivals over the former peak year of 2008. (a.).
  3. Over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued expansion and diversification becoming one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Many new destinations have emerged alongside the traditional ones of Europe and North America. As growth has been particularly fast in the world’s emerging regions, the share in international tourist arrivals received by emerging and developing economies has steadily risen, from 31% in 1990 to 47% in 2010. Asia and the Pacific (+13%) was the first region to recover and among the strongest growing regions in 2010. Africa maintained growth (+7%) and the Middle East returned to double digit growth (+14%). While the Americas rebounded (+6%) from the decline in 2009, Europe’s (+3%) recovery was slower than in other regions. (a.).
  4. In 2010, travel for leisure, recreation and holidays accounted for just over half of all international tourist arrivals (51% or 480 million arrivals). Some 15% of international tourists reported travelling for business and professional purposes and another 27% travelled for other purposes, such as visiting friends and relatives, religious reasons and pilgrimages, health treatment, etc. The purpose of visit for the remaining 7% of arrivals was not specified. (a.).
  5. Slightly over half of travellers arrived at their destination by air transport (51%) in 2010, while the remainder travelled over the surface (49%) – whether by road (41%), rail (2%), or over water (6%). Over time, the trend has been for air transport to grow at a faster pace than surface transport, so the share of air transport is gradually increasing. (a.).
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. United Nations World Tourism Organization. (2011). "Tourism Highlights 2011 edition". Retrieved by top 5 of anything June 1st, 2012.
Tags: Travel & Tourism , Top 5 Most, China, The United States, Spain

Sources:  United Nations World Tourism Organization 2012

List Notes: Data is the number of tourist visits in millions for the year 2010. Percent change is from 2009. Data was collected by UNWTO, June 2011.
Countries with the Most Tourist Visits 2010

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