News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

Rediff News  All News  » Business » World's top tourist destinations

World's top tourist destinations

Last updated on: April 22, 2011 08:21 IST

Image: Europe remains the favourite of foreign tourists.
Photographs: Reuters
China has overtaken Spain to become the world's third-most popular tourist destination in the world.

According to World Tourism Organization, a United Nations body, the financial crisis in Spain has helped China to get past the European nation to become the third-biggest tourist destination.

In 2010, the number of foreign tourists in China reached 55.66 million, up 9.4% compared to 2009.

France with 78.95 million foreign tourist arrivals topped the list, while the United States came second with 60.88 million.

World Tourism organisation said that although India did not receive that many tourists, but it did pretty well in attracting tourist dollars.

India was ranked 41st in the list of top 50 tourist destinations after attracting 5.6 million foreign tourists.

But in terms of tourist expenditure, it rose to 16th position, earning $14.2 billion, a little less than Canada.

The numbers reveal that the cost of tourism in India is very high.

Here is a look at world's top tourist destinations.


World's top tourist destinations

Image: France offers everything, from castles to vineyards.
Photographs: Reuters
1. France
International tourists in 2010: 78.95 million

France attracted 78.95 million foreign tourists in 2010, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world.

France offers mountain ranges, coastlines such as in Brittany or along the Mediterranean Sea, cities with a rich cultural heritage, ch teaux (castles) like Versailles, and vineyards.

Tourism is accountable for 6 per cent of the country's income (4 per cent from French tourists travelling inside France and 2 per cent from foreign tourists), and contributes significantly to the balance of payments.


World's top tourist destinations

Image: Times Square is the most visited site.
Photographs: Reuters
2. United States
International tourists in 2010: 60.88 million

Tourism in the United States is a large industry that serves millions of international and domestic tourists yearly.

Tourists visit the US to see natural wonders, cities, historic landmarks and entertainment venues.

Americans seek similar attractions, as well as recreation and vacation areas.

The most visited tourist attraction in the US is Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, which attracts about 35 million visitors yearly.


World's top tourist destinations

Image: China is seeing a boom in tourism.
Photographs: Reuters

3. China
International tourists in 2010: 55.98

Tourism in China has greatly expanded over the last few decades since the beginning of economic reform and opening.

The emergence of a newly rich middle class and an easing of restrictions on movement by the Chinese authorities are both fueling this travel boom.

China has become one of the world's most-watched and hottest outbound tourist markets.

The world is on the cusp of a sustained Chinese outbound tourism boom.


World's top tourist destinations

Image: Spain's nightlife is famous.
Photographs: Reuters
4. Spain
International tourists in 2010: 53 million

Spain's tourism direct industry GDP was 91.8 billion in 2010 according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the fifth-highest tourism direct industry GDP after the United States with $510.8 billion, Japan $172.5 billion, China $113.4 billion and France $107.6 billion.

The nightlife in Spain is attractive to both tourists and locals. Spain is known to have one of the best night lives of any country.


World's top tourist destinations

Image: Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Italy.
Photographs: Reuters

5. Italy
International tourists in 2010: 43.2 million

People mainly come to Italy for its rich art, cuisine, history, fashion and culture, its beautiful coastline and beaches, its mountains and priceless ancient monuments, especially those from the Greek civilization and Roman civilization.

Tourism is one of Italy's fastest-growing and most profitable industrial sectors.


World's top tourist destinations

Image: Nine per cent of workforce is in tourism industry in India
Photographs: Reuters
6. India
International tourists in 2010: 5.6 million

Tourism in India is the largest service industry, with a contribution of 6.23 per cent to the national GDP and 8.78 per cent of the total employment in India.

India records more than 5 million annual foreign tourist arrivals and 562 million domestic tourism visits.

The tourism industry in India is expected to generate about $275.5 billion by 2018 at 9.4 per cent annual growth rate.