25 Most Visited Countries in the World

In this article, we identify and discuss the 25 most visited countries in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of these countries, and go directly to the 5 Most Visited Countries in the World.

Tourism was among the industries that were affected the most by the deadly COVID-19 and the consequent lockdowns around the globe. According to the World Tourism barometer updated by the UNWTO, international tourist arrivals all over the world fell over 80% between March and December in the year 2020 as compared to the year before. The most popular online hospitality marketplace Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB) alone was forced to lay off 1,900 employees due to the pandemic for the company’s own survival. Unsurprisingly, the losses faced by the global tourism industry surpassed $1.3 trillion, according to the report by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development. Moreover, according to a study carried out by the World Travel and Tourism Council which covers 85 countries and economies, 62 million people were laid off in the tourism industry during the year 2020.

A global study conducted by Booking.com that included insights from 20,000 travelers belonging to 28 different countries found that 53% of global travelers reportedly felt uncomfortable until a certain cure or vaccine was developed against the virus. Nevertheless, analysts are hopeful that with the mass rollout of vaccines around the globe, the travel and tourism industries are expected to thrive and grow even larger than they were before the emergence of the coronavirus.

The future outlook of the tourism industry is bright, and not merely due to its expected growth. A study carried out by McKinsey and Company which interviewed travel executives and corporate travel managers provided valuable insights about the supply side of travel businesses. According to the study, in an attempt to compensate the general public for all their failed travel plans and postponed trips, travel and tourism companies worldwide are planning to offer creatively designed travel plans for their customers. Subsequently, the general public wishes to travel to exceptionally stunning places, explore exotic destinations, and, therefore, make their travels more meaningful as the implicit value of traveling has increased tenfold for them.

As travel rebounds in the US and abroad, tourism planning and leisure companies like Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT), and Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB), and logistics and navigation companies such as Google Maps by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) would be widely used by travelers.

25 Most Visited Countries in the World

Photo by Mesut Kaya on Unsplash

Our Methodology

The 25 most visited countries in the world have been identified using the World Tourism Barometer created by the United Nations. Accordingly, the count of visitors that arrived at a particular country from a foreign country in the year 2019 has been mentioned separately for each of the 25 most visited countries in the world.

We used data for 2019 because using that of 2020 won’t represent a realistic picture as the coronavirus crisis forced the tourism industry to come to a screeching halt.

Keeping this background in mind, we begin with the 25th country on the list of 25 most visited countries in the world.

Most Visited Countries in the World

25. Hungary

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 16.9 million

Hungary is the 25th on the list of the 25 most visited countries in the world due to its beautiful tourism sites. The historic and romantic architecture of its buildings attracts millions of visitors to the country each year. Moreover, Hungary has an abundance of spas and therapeutically thermal baths which allow tourists to relax and enjoy.

The country’s signature dish and its famous wine provide more reasons for the country to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

24. Croatia

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 17.4 million

Croatia has emerged as the 24th of the 25 most visited places in the world. The country has recently been gaining popularity due to its various cultural sites such as ancient ruins and castles, beautiful natural tourist spots, and a warm climate. A characteristic of Croatia is that the country owns over 1200 islands that are famous for activities such as dolphin spotting and jet skiing.

As travel rebounds in the US and abroad, tourism planning and leisure companies like Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT), and Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB), and logistics and navigation companies such as Google Maps by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) would be widely used by travelers.

23. South Korea

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 17.5 million

The palaces, fortresses, and temples in South Korea make up 11 of UNESCO’s declared World Heritage Sites. The country’s love for coffee, its famous kimchi, and multitudes of shopping malls make South Korea the 23rd of the 25 most visited places in the world. Moreover, the K-pop concerts and the widely popular and revolutionary skincare and beauty items in South Korea attract a horde of tourists each year. The country also attracts investors and people traveling for business, as it has business-friendly laws. South Korea is also one of the most business-friendly economies in the world.

22. India

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 17.9 million

India is the 22nd of the 25 most visited places in the world. India has a score of historical places to visit, namely the Gateway of India, Ajanta Ellora Caves, The Qutub Minar, and the famous Taj Mahal from the Mughal era. Moreover, the concept of spiritual tourism also exists in India, specifically in relation to sites such as the Golden Temple and Varkala.

21. Vietnam

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 18 million

Vietnam is the 21st of the 25 most visited places in the world. The country contains breathtaking sceneries, historic sites, and unique culture, all of which attract tourists to Vietnam by the hordes. The heritage sites like Hội An Ancient Town and Hạ Long Bay along with the friendly nature of the locals and the exotic Vietnamese food are some of the reasons that Vietnam is one of the most popular tourist destinations.

Tourism is expected to rebound in the country as more and more people get their COVID-19 vaccines and tourism planning and leisure companies like Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) and Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB) prepare for an industry-wide reopening.

20. The Netherlands

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 20.1 million

The Netherlands is the 20th of the 25 most visited places in the world. The country has a balanced mix of natural beauty, historic and modern architecture, modern tourism attractions, and its highly popular Gouda cheese for tourists to sample. Its city Amsterdam has an array of historical monuments, museums, scenic canals, and even vibrant nightlife. In addition, the city of Rotterdam has a very interesting history and consequently fascinating architecture. Moreover, Netherlands even has several islands; Texel, Schiermonnikoog, and Ameland to name a few, which charm the tourists.

19. Poland

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 21.2 million

Poland is home to 14 unique sites that have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO such as the medieval churches in the ancient town of Krakow and the Bialowieza Forest with its decaying trees. From its mountain range of Tatras to the fascinating POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the many medieval castles in the country, Poland is the perfect place for people who are interested in history and historic buildings.

Tourism is expected to rebound in the country as more and more people get their COVID-19 vaccines and tourism planning and leisure companies like Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) and Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB) prepare for an industry-wide reopening.

18. Canada

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 22.1 million

Canada has emerged as the 18th on the list of 25 most visited countries of the world. Canada is most popular for its natural beauty such as Dinosaur Provincial Park, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, and the world-famous Niagara Falls. In addition to the natural attractions, Canada’s large cities such as Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec City are visited for their liveliness, museums, and the friendliness of their people. Activities such as attending festivals and theaters, and river rafting are common in Canada.

17. Hong Kong

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 23.8 million

Hong Kong is the 17th of the 25 most visited countries in the world, due to both its tourism and business environment. The country’s most prominent cultural aspect is its food, as the country offers authentic food that is native to countries such as Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, and even Africa.

The people of Hong Kong live a Western-inspired life with the Chinese culture embedded in them, which outsiders find most interesting. Moreover, Hong Kong is a popular country for initiating business ventures, too, as it offers a strategic route to Chinese markets and is essentially an international logistics hub for trade across Asian countries. The government of Hong Kong, too, offers significant support to startups and SMEs such as financing for equipment installation and low taxes to allow for fast business growth.

16. Russian Federation

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 24.4 million

Russia is one of the countries with the richest cultural sites around the globe. The country contains 23 different sites that have been declared to be World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Moreover, the country is visited by scores of people who are fascinated by its world-famous art and the magnificent architecture of its historic buildings such as the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Russia is promoting tourism to rake in revenue and change its global image. Travel companies like Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) and Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB) are also seeing a huge demand of their services in the country.

15. Portugal

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 24.6 million

Portugal is among the more luxurious travel destinations. The country is 15th among the 25 most visited countries in the world. Portugal is visited mainly for its warm weather, awe-inspiring natural landscapes, and pristine beaches. The world-famous Portuguese cuisine and the historic cities in the country such as Angra do Heroísmo with its maze of winding alleys also draw visitors to Portugal.

14. Malaysia

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 26.1 million

The diversity in Malaysia is the reason for it being assigned 14th place on the list of 25 most visited countries in the world. Malaysia has modern cities that are fully functional metropolitans in addition to perfectly preserves colonial architecture with its detailing. At the same time, Malaysia boasts several beaches which are considered to be among the most beautiful in the world and lush jungles that are popular for trekking among tourists.

13. Greece

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 31.3 million

Greece is known for its pristine beaches with pure water, serene lakes, and green meadows. On the other hand, Greece also has iconic parties called panigyri in the cosmopolitan Athens and Thessaloniki, where the cities seem to stay awake all night. The country also has activities such as deep-sea diving, rock climbing, and surfing in the summers. The country is one of the most authentic vacation spots.

12. Austria

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 31.9 million

Austria is the 12th on the list of 25 most visited countries in the world. The palaces and Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings in the country inspire awe in the tourists who visit them, while Austria’s snow-covered Alps, mountains, caves, and green hills present a vision for nature enthusiasts. Austria gives great importance to music; there are many free concerts in the cities of Vienna and Salzburg that tourists often enjoy.

11. Japan

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 32.2 million

In addition to being one of the most prominent centers for business, Japan is visited due to its ancient culture. Tourists flock to Japan each year to experience its interesting heritage and history. The most popular places in Japan are its castles, temples, and Shrines. Moreover, Japan offers a wide variety in terms of food, as sushi, ramen noodles, Sukiyaki, Yakitori, and Yakiniku barbecue are the tourists’ favorite eatables. Food trends such as Matcha tea and Matcha ice-cream originated in Japan, and it is famous for having KitKat available in many flavors such as Wasabi, strawberry cheesecake, and cinnamon cookie.

Tourism is expected to rebound in the country as more and more people get their COVID-19 vaccines and tourism planning and leisure companies like Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) and Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB) prepare for an industry-wide reopening.

10. United Kingdom

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 39.4 million

The United Kingdom has always been a popular tourist destination. From the green hills of Wales, the mountainous terrain of Scotland, and the famous Cliffs of Moher to the fast-paced city of London, the United Kingdom offers something interesting for all kinds of tourists. In addition to being popular for its tourism, the United Kingdom is visited for its many prestigious universities and colleges such as the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford among many others. Students from all over the world travel to the UK for their studies.

9. Germany

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 39.6 million

Germany is one of the most popular places to visit and stands 9th on the list of 25 most visited countries in the world. The country offers tourists activities such as attending the Berlin Film Festival, going on river cruises on the Maine and Rhine Gorge, and enjoy the world’s largest beer festival and traveling funfair called the Oktoberfest. While some tourists enjoy exploring the German countryside, with its huge old castles and vast vineyards, others prefer the nightlife of the cosmopolitan city of Hamburg or admiring the classical architecture in Erfurt.

8. Thailand

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 39.8 million

Thailand has emerged as the 8th of the 25 most visited countries in the world, and with good reason. The country has beautiful beaches, magnificent views, and several breathtakingly lovely waterfalls. In addition to the natural beauty, the temples such as the Buddhist Wat Benchamabophit Dusit Wanaram, archeological sites like ruins of Ayutthaya, and historically important places such as Phimai Historical Park in Thailand are much visited as they depict the colorful history and culture of the country. Thailand’s cuisine is exotic due to its distinct and strong flavors, which are reportedly derived from Chinese cuisine.

7. Mexico

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 45 million

Mexico is the seventh of the 25 most visited countries in the world. The country is very popular with tourists due to the wide range of activities that are available for tourists. From exploring Mayan ruins to relaxing at the picturesque sandy beaches, and from admiring the awe-inducing artwork in Museo Nacional de Arte: MUNAL and Palacio Nacional to sampling spicy tacos and enchiladas, Mexico has options for all kinds of people. The country even has arrangements for extreme sports such as cage-diving with sharks and paragliding for its adventurous tourists.

6. Turkey

International Foreign Arrivals in 2019: 51.2 million

Turkey is a popular tourist destination for people around the world. The country is beautiful and rich in culture yet is modern and comfortable enough to suit the tastes of Europeans, Americans, and Asians alike. The traditional and cultural heritage of Turkey can be explored by visiting sites such as Aya Sofya, also known as Hagia Sophia, Cappadocia, and the Blue Mosque. Turkey also offers tourists activities like hiking, mountaineering, yachting, and hot air ballooning. All these factors contribute to making the country the sixth out of the 25 most visited countries in the world.

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Disclosure: None. 25 Most Visited Countries in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.