There are several things that make a country become a tourist destination that attracts many travelers to come. The natural beauty, historic national heritage, its cuisine, or man-made attractions all play a role.

Here is the list of top 5 countries in the world in terms of visitor numbers by

1. France

France leads the world in the field of tourism with 83.7 million international tourists visiting the country in 2014. France hosts a variety of places of tourist interest like cities of cultural interest such as Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, the Alpine mountains, ski resorts, beaches, picturesque French villages, spectacular gardens and parks, and more.

The country is home to 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are well recognized globally for their outstanding universal value. In France, 9.7% of the GDP is contributed by the travel and tourism sector. 30% of the revenue generated by tourism is obtained from foreign tourists, while the remaining 70% is derived from domestic tourism.

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2. United States

The United States is vast country serving a large number of attractions to the global travelers. Many of the U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas thrive with tourists all year round. Major natural attractions here include the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Alaskan subarctic wonders, the Hawaiian beaches and more.

Mount Rushmore Monument
Mount Rushmore Monument – Sculptures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (left to right)

In 29 states of the country, the tourism industry is among the first three industries generating the maximum number of employment opportunities. U.S.A. receives the greatest number of foreign tourists from Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom and its domestic tourism industry is also highly active. In 2014, the country received over 74.8 million visitors and earned $1.47 trillion USD from tourist revenue. It is estimated that by 2025, the country will earn nearly $2.5 trillion USD from the travel and tourism sector.

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3. Spain

Tourism is a major industry in Spain, contributing nearly 11% to the national GDP of the country. In 2014, 65 million tourists toured Spain with the largest volume of tourists hailing from the European countries of United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany.

Hemispheric - Valencia, Spain
The Hemispheric at the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Valencia, Spain (By Diliff – Own work, CC BY 2.5,

Historical cities and towns of the country like Barcelona and Madrid, the world-class resorts at the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of the country, the popular festivals like the Carnival and the Running of the Bulls, 15 national parks, well-developed winter tourism facilities, and a bustling nightlife, are some of the major tourist attractants in Spain. 13 Spanish cities are also regarded as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, attracting foreign visitors with their unique charm and significance.

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4. China

The land of the Great Wall of China, the Fiver Sacred Mountains, the Shaolin Temple, the Huangguoshu Waterfall, the Forbidden City, the Three Gorges, and other naturally, culturally and historically important sites, China is indeed one of the most coveted tourist destination in the world.

Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu Waterfall, the largest waterfall in China (By WaitinZ – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, – Photo enhanced by

The country received 55.6 million foreign visitors in 2014 and profited from a foreign exchange income of $45.8 USD in 2010. China’s tourist numbers are estimated to increase rapidly in the coming years with the World Trade Organization (WTO) estimating that by 2020 the country will rank number one in the worldwide tourism sector.

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5. Italy

For many, Italy is one of the dream destinations of their life. With 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, innumerable cultural artefacts, buildings, and archaeological sites from the Roman Empire and the Renaissance periods. Not to mention the quaint Alpine villages and towns in the north of the country and fascinating Mediterranean coasts to the south, Italy is justifiably the 5th most visited country in the world.

Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Some of its most visited cities include Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan, each with their unique attractions, history, culture and cuisine. In 2014, 48.6 million tourists toured the country generating huge income for the country from the travel and tourism sector.

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