The Top 5 Most Visited Countries in the World 2012

  Country Tourist Visits 2012 % Change from 2011 % of World Total Tourist Spending
(per person)
1 France 83.01 million + 1.8% 8.2% $645.8
2 United States 66.96 million + 6.8% 6.4% $1,883.6
3 China 57,72 million + 0.3% 5.7% $866.6
4 Spain 56,70 million + 2.7% 5.5% $968.8
5 Italy 46,36 million + 0.5% 4.4% $888.0
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 Special Report
  1. International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide exceeded the 1 billion mark for the first time ever in 2012, with 1.03 billion tourists crossing international borders, up from 995 million in 2011. Asia and the Pacific recorded the strongest growth with a 7% increase in arrivals, followed by Africa (+6%) and the Americas (+5%). (a)
  2. International tourist arrivals in Europe, the most visited region in the world, were up by 3%. The Middle East (-5%) has not yet succeeded in returning to growth. (a.)
  3. China became the number one source market in the world in 2012, spending US$ 102 billion on international tourism.
  4. Despite continued economic volatility around the globe, demand for international tourism held up well throughout 2012. With an additional 40 million tourists (+4%), international arrivals reached 1,035 million, up from 995 million in 2011. Two changes took place in the top 10 ranking by international tourist arrivals in 2012. Germany (30 million arrivals) moved up one place to 7th and the Russian Federation (26 million) entered the top 10 at number 9, climbing three positions. In the top 10 ranking by international tourism receipts, Macao and Hong Kong (China Special Administrative Regions) both moved up, to 5th and 9th respectively.(a.)
  5. In 2012, travel for holidays, recreation and types of leisure accounted for just over half of all international tourist arrivals (52% or 536 million arrivals). Some 14% of international tourists reported traveling for business and professional purposes and another 27% traveled for other purposes, such as visiting friends and relatives (VFR), religious reasons and pilgrimages, health treatment, etc. The purpose of visit for the remaining 7% of arrivals was not specified. (a.)
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. United Nations World Tourism Organization. (2013). "Tourism Highlights 2013 Edition." Retrieved July 2013.
Tags: Travel & Tourism , China, The United States, Spain, France

Sources:  United Nations World Tourism Organization: "Tourism Highlights 2013 Edition."

List Notes: Data is the number of international tourist arrivals in millions for the year 2012. Percent change is from the year 2011. Tourist spending per person is the average amount that tourists spend while visiting that country. Tourist spending is in U.S. dollars.
Most Visited Countries in the World 2012

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