The latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) research, Tourism Highlights 2017 Edition, lists the world’s 10 most popular tourist countries in the world. First place went to France with 82.6 million tourists in 2016. The second and third line of the rating took the USA and Spain, actually tied, with each receiving 75.6 million foreign visitors. However, while the number of tourists in Spain grew by 10.3 percent in comparison with the year 2015, it fell 2.4 percent for the U.S.
When ranking the world’s top international tourism destinations, it is preferable to take more than a single indicator into account. Ranked according to the two key tourism indicators, says the UNWTO. So, in additional to visitor numbers, the UNWTO also lists a Top Ten according to tourism receipts.
Still, it is interesting to note that eight out of the Top 10 destinations appear on both lists, despite showing marked differences in terms of the type of tourists they attract, as well as their average length of stay and their spending per trip and per night. It should be noted that changes in the ranking of international tourism receipts not only reflect the relative performance of the destinations, but also exchange rate fluctuations of the local currencies against the U.S. dollar. The United States continues to top the international tourism receipts ranking, with $206 billion earned in 2016. The two tables below provide more detail for the two Top Ten lists.
TF = International tourist arrivals at frontiers (overnight visitors, i.e. excluding same-day visitors)
TCE = International tourists arrivals at collective tourism establishments