The world is slowly emerging from the shadows of the pandemic and so is the world tourism industry. The positive signs (data and stats) seen during the 2023 calendar year have brought high hopes for the travel season of 2024. Buckle up as we discuss the World Tourism Rankings by Country for 2024!

International tourism has recovered by 87% of pre-pandemic levels. UN Tourism predicts that international tourism is expected to fully recover pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

Key Insights:

  • After a strong rebound in 2023, global tourism is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2% in 2024.
  • Spain takes the crown as the most visited country internationally, with over 85 million tourists in 2023.
  • While France previously held the title, Spain surged ahead in 2023.
  • The Middle East region boasts the fastest recovery rate, reaching 22% above pre-pandemic numbers.

World Tourism Analysis

According to UN Tourism, formerly known as UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), an estimated 1286 million international tourists (overnight visitors) were recorded around the world in 2023, an increase of 34% over 2022.

This is the highest point after the pandemic period. Looking at the Global Tourism Statistics 2024, let’s analyze a few key results of 2023 and projections for 2024.

Results of 2023

  • International tourism recovered 88% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023 (-12% versus pre-pandemic year 2019) with an estimated 1286 billion arrivals (1.3 billion), up 34% from 2022.
  • The Middle East recorded the best results, with arrivals 22% above pre-pandemic levels. Africa recovered 96% of 2019 numbers, Europe 96%, the Americas 90%, and Asia and the Pacific 65%
  • International tourism receipts reached USD 1.4 trillion in 2023 based on preliminary estimates, about 93% of the USD 1.5 trillion earned by destinations in 2019.
  • Total export revenues from tourism (including passenger transport) are estimated at USD 1.6 trillion in 2023, almost 95% of the USD 1.7 trillion recorded in 2019.
  • Tourism direct gross domestic product (TDGDP) climbed to USD 3.3 trillion in 2023 according to provisional estimates, about 3% of global GDP, similar to 2019 values, driven by strong domestic and international travel.

Projections for 2024

  • International tourism is expected to recover pre-pandemic levels in 2024, with initial estimates pointing to 2% growth above 2019 levels.
  • This projection is subject to several factors including the pace of recovery of Asia and the Pacific, economic circumstances such as inflation and its effect on transport and accommodation costs, as well as the evolution of geopolitical tensions and conflicts.
  • The latest UNWTO Panel of Experts survey shows that 67% of tourism professionals expect better performance in 2024 than in 2023, while 28% expect similar performance and 6% suggest it could be worse.
  • The UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index indicates slightly weaker prospects for January-April 2024 (score of 122) than for September-December 2023 (score of 126).

World Tourists Arrivals

According to the provisional data provided by UNWTO (Jan. 2024), the number of international tourist arrivals reached around 1286 billion in the year of 2023. For context, the number was around 1462 billion pre-pandemic.

World Tourist Arrivals in millions

While the tourist arrival was affected by 72% i.e. 1.1 billion in 2020, the sharp growth in the graph reflects that 2024 could meet the numbers of 2019 with the possibility of even exceeding it.

Recovery of International Tourist Arrivals

International tourism recovered 88% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. We were previously at 28% in 2020, 31% in 2021, and 66% in 2022.

Bar Graph showing Recovery of International Tourists Arrival

Recovery of International Tourist Arrivals by Region

With 122% the Middle East region has seen the most growth in terms of international tourist arrival in the year 2023.

Africa has 96%, Europe 94%, and America with 90% recovery shows a positive sign.

Meanwhile, Asia and the Pacific region reached 65% of pre-pandemic levels, with a gradual recovery since the start of 2023.

Bar Graph showing Recovery of International Tourists Arrivals by Region

Best Performing Destinations Coming into 2024

According to the tourism data provided by UNWTO on Global and Regional Tourism Performance, Spain ranks no. 1 with the arrival of 85.17 million international tourists.

World Tourism Rankings by Country in terms of Total Arrivals 2023

Country Region Arrivals (million) Receipts (USD billion) Receipts per arrival (USD)
SpainEurope85.1792.01,080
ItalyEurope57.3955.8972
TürkiyeEurope55.1647.7864
MexicoAmericas (North+South)42.1530.8731
GermanyEurope34.8037.41,074
GreeceEurope32.7422.3680
AustriaEurope30.9125.0808
ThailandAsia Pacific28.1529.71,055
Saudi ArabiaAsia Pacific27.4236.01,312
JapanAsia Pacific25.0738.61,539
NetherlandsEurope20.4220.02987
MalaysiaAsia Pacific20.1414.8735
CanadaAmericas (North+South)18.3439.22,138
Hong Kong (China)Asia Pacific17.1621.11,228
CroatiaEurope16.8515.8937
MoroccoAfrica14.5210.3711
Macao (China)Asia Pacific14.2332.62,288
SingaporeAsia Pacific13.6121.11,548
HungaryEurope12.938.0615
BulgariaEurope12.634.0319
VietnamAsia Pacific12.609.2730
IndonesiaAsia Pacific11.6814.01,199
Korea (ROK)Asia Pacific11.0315.31,388
AlbaniaEurope9.674.5467
TunisiaAfrica9.392.5271
BelgiumEurope9.307.6819
South AfricaAfrica8.485.7669
Dominican Rep.Americas (North+South)8.069.81,210
SwedenEurope7.539.81,307
ArgentinaAmericas (North+South)7.295.4747
AustraliaAsia Pacific7.1946.66,480
Taiwan (pr. of China)Asia Pacific6.498.71,349
BrazilAmericas5.916.91,169
ColombiaAmericas (North+South)5.637.61,346
CambodiaAsia Pacific5.453.1565
JordanMiddle East5.357.41,384
Puerto RicoAmericas (North+South)5.05
PhilippinesAsia Pacific5.009.11,822
GeorgiaAsia Pacific4.674.1883
SloveniaEurope4.663.5759
QatarMiddle East4.058.82,183
AndorraEurope4.05
OmanMiddle East3.99
CyprusEurope3.853.2841
ChileAmericas3.732.4644
IsraelMiddle East3.016.01,987
MaltaEurope2.982.1720
New ZealandAsia Pacific2.967.92,688
JamaicaAmericas (North+South)2.88
Costa RicaAmericas2.754.81,733
FranceEurope68.6
IndiaAsia Pacific28.1
United StatesAmericas (North+South)175.1
ChinaAsia Pacific24.8
United KingdomEurope73.9
Disclaimer:

Note: If no data is shown, there is no data available for the country. This ranking by indicators does not always coincide with the official UNWTO rankings as it only ranks counties based on existing data for the selected year. As data will be updated regularly throughout the year the rankings therefore will change as well.

In comparison to 2019

On the basis of change in international tourist arrivals after 2019, Turks & Caicos leads the chart with a +127% change. Following behind is Qatar with +90%, Saudi Arabia with +56%, Albania with +53%, and El Salvador with a +40% increase in their tourist arrivals in comparison to 2019.

Ethiopia ranks at no. 8 with +30% change being the only country from Africa region in the top 10. Tanzania ranks 12th with a +20% change while Morocco with a +11% change barely gets into the top 20 spots.

With the data provided by UNWTO, World Tourism Rankings By Country in terms of increase in international tourists is:

1.Turks & Caicos
2.Qatar
3.Saudi Arabia
4.Albania
5.El Salvador
6.Columbia
7.Andorra
8.Ethiopia
9.Curaçao
10.Dominican Rep.

Row Chart showing Recovery of International Tourists Arrivals by Region

Turks & Caicos is experiencing a resurgence in tourism due to the islands becoming a popular destination for cruise ships. Over 491,000 cruise passengers were recorded to have visited till the October month of  2023. [Source]

On the other hand, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have capitalized on their sports events and tournaments to draw a large number of international tourists. After the AFC Asian Cup Tournament, Qatar is now aiming to lure families, medical tourists, and business travelers with a line-up of conferences and exhibitions.

Best Performing World Tourism Countries Rankings Based on Regions

Europe

Albania tops the list by a +53% increase in their tourist number in comparison to 2019. Andorra follows with a +31% change.

Europe Tourism Rankings by Country

1.Albania
2.Andorra
3.Liechtenstein
4.Iceland
5.Serbia
6.Portugal
7.Montenegro
8.Denmark
9.Malta
10.Türkiye

Row Chart showing Europe Tourism Ranking by Country

Asia and the Pacific

Maldives and French Poyln. tops the list for the Asia Pacific region by a +10% increase in their tourist number in comparison to 2019. Fiji stands 3rd with a +3% increase while other countries gradually try to reach the same numbers as in 2019.

Asia Pacific Tourism Rankings by Country

1.Maldives
2.French Polun.
3.Fiji
4.N. Caledonia
5.Samoa
6.Nepal
7.India
8.Cook Islands
9.Sri Lanka
10.Japan

Row Chart showing Asia Pacific Tourism Ranking by Country

Americas

Turks & Caicos stands on top with a +127% increase in their tourist number in comparison to 2019. El Salvador follows with a +40% change.

Americas Tourism Rankings by Country

1.Turks & Caicos
2.El Salvador
3.Colombia
4.Curaçao
5.Dominican Rep.
6.US Virg. Islands
7.Guatemala
8.Honduras
9.Aruba
10.Barbados

Row Chart showing Americas Tourism Ranking by Country

Africa and the Middle East

Qatar ranks 1st with a +90% increase in their tourist number in comparison to 2019. Saudi Arabia follows with a +56% change.

Africa and Middle East Tourism Rankings by Country

1.Qatar
2.Saudi Arabia
3.Ethiopia
4.Tanzania
5.Oman
6.Morocco
7.Tunisia
8.Kenya
9.Mauritius
10.Syria

Row Chart showing Africa and Middle East Tourism Ranking by Country

Large Best-Performing Destinations

Based on countries recording 5 million arrivals or more in 2019 and their change in 2024, here’s a list of Best Performing Countries:

1.Saudi Arabia
2.Albania
3.Dominican Rep.
4.Portugal
5.Morocco
6.Denmark
7.Türkiye
8.Greece
9.Netherlands
10.Spain
11.Argentina
12.Belgium
13.Bulgaria
14.Tunisia
15.France

Row Chart showing Large Best-Performing Destinations

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Best Performing Destinations in Terms of Receipts

Serbia leads the rankings with a +79% increase in their receipts from international tourists. Pakistan follows closely with +77%.

World Tourism Rankings by Country in Terms of Receipts

1.Serbia
2.Pakistan
3.Türkiye
4.Romania
5.Portugal
6.Mauritius
7.Morocco
8.Latvia
9.Tanzania
10.Mexico
11.Spain
12.Italy
13.Slovenia
14.Brazil
15.Greece
16.France
17.Cyprus
18.India
19.Samoa
20.Mongolia

Row Chart showing Best Performing Destinations in Terms of Receipts

Large Best-Performing Destinations in Terms of Receipts

Based on destinations earning USD 5 billion or more in receipts in 2019 and comparing it to 2023, Türkiye ranks 1st with +59% growth in their receipts. Portugal managed to get 2nd place with a +38% increase.

1.Türkiye
2.Portugal
3.Morocco
4.Mexico
5.Spain
6.Italy
7.Brazil
8.Greece
9.France
10.India
11.Japan
12.Germany
13.Israel
14.United States
15.Korea (ROK)

Large Best-Performing Destinations in Terms of Receipts

Conclusion

Following a strong rebound in 2023, world tourism is expected to recover pre-pandemic levels in 2024, with initial estimates pointing to 2% growth above 2019 levels.

Spain has become the largest international tourist hosting country with 85.17 million international tourists. [Source: UNWTO Global and Regional Tourism Performance]

Turks & Caicos with +12% ranks 1st in terms of best-performing country in comparison to their 2019 levels.

In terms of receipts, Türkiye ranks no. 1 with 59% more income than their 2019 levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which country has the highest tourism rate in the world?

Spain and France have the highest tourism rates in the world as Spain ranked no. 1 with 85.17 million arrivals in 2023. [Source: Global and Regional Tourism Performance by UNWTO]

Which country is most visited in Asia?

Thailand is the most visited country in Asia with 28.15 million arrivals and USD 29.67 billion receipts heading into 2024.

What is the world’s biggest tourism?

While France had been holding the title for the most tourist arrivals for a long time, recent tourism data from UNWTO ranks Spain for the highest arrival. Over 85.17 million people visited Spain in 2023.

What are the prospects for tourism destinations in 2024?

According to the UNWTO Panel of Experts Survey (Jan 2024), tourism destinations seem to be heading toward a positive impact with
i. 12% say it’ll be much better
ii. 55% say it’ll be better
iii. 28% say it’ll be the same
iv. 6% suggesting it’ll be worse and
v. 0.4% result saying it’ll be much worse

When can we expect international tourism to return to 2019 pre-pandemic levels?

According to the UNWTO Panel of Experts Survey (Jan 2024), 39% feel they’ve already achieved it, 30% hope to reach it in 2024 while 31% expect to reach the same level in 2025 or later.

What is the top 10 most traveled country in the world?

According to the UNWTO Global and Regional Tourism Performance Report of 2023, the top 10 most traveled countries in the world are:
1. Spain [85.17 million]
2. Italy [57.39 million]
3. Türkiye [55.16 million]
4. Mexico [42.15 million]
5. Germany [34.80 million]
6. Greece [32.74 million]
7. Austria [30.91 million]
8. Thailand [28.15 million]
9. Saudi Arabia [27.42 million]
10. Japan [25.07 million]