If you are looking for an excuse to travel, then visiting the world’s top tourism destinations is an excellent reason to hit the road. While there is some discrepancy as to what makes that list from one source to the next, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) actually maintains world tourism rankings based on the number of international visitors to each country. The list of rankings is updated each year based on the previous year’s tourism numbers. The top country, by more than 18 million annual visitors in 2011, is currently France. In fact, France has held the title since 2006.
France has a lot to offer travelers, from the sunny beaches of Nice to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Paris is the most visited city not just in France, but in the world. The French Alps also attracts a lot of tourists who are looking to ski. Other popular cities in France include Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon and Strasbourg. Of course, travelers can go off the beaten path as well. Some travelers may prefer spending the evening around the glow of fire pits at small campground outside of Giverny as opposed to strolling along the Seine.
The country that ranks second on UNWTO’s list is the United States. Popular places to visit in the U.S. include New York City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. According to a USA Today article from September 2011, Times Square in New York City is the most visited tourist attraction in the U.S., followed by Central Park. Rounding out the list is Union Station in Washington, D.C., the Las Vegas Strip, Grand Central Terminal in New York City, Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in California. Like France, the U.S. has a wide variety of experience to offer travelers from luxury vacations to camping in the wilderness.
Rounding out the top five world tourism destinations are China, Spain and Italy.