35 Most Visited Countries in the World

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In this article, we will be taking a look at the 35 most visited countries in the world. To skip our detailed analysis of the travel industry, you can go directly to see the 10 most visited countries in the world.

When the entire world ground to a halt in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries were devastated but none more so than the hospitality industry. After lockdowns were imposed across most countries, travel came to a complete halt, which initially encompassed both international and domestic travel. From the first quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2022, travel restrictions were imposed by most nations and even where travel was allowed, there were a lot of regulations which had to be fulfilled before one could travel, which included some of the most visited countries in the world.

In between these two years, there were little pockets which allowed for some level of movement, such as the summer of 2021 when conditions seemed to be getting better, only for the Omicron variant to rear its head and see restrictions imposed once more. However, even in these times, many people preferred not to travel because of various caveats such as registration apps, Covid-19 negative tests, proof of vaccination and many more. Some places even required multiple tests depending on the location and country of origination, while restrictions for different countries were lowered or removed at different points in time considering the threat of the virus spreading from the country of origination.

35 most visited countries in the world
35 most visited countries in the world

Photo by Cris Tagupa on Unsplash

The tourism industry is one of the biggest industries in the world and accounts for nearly a tenth of the global GDP while providing employment to more than 320 million people across the world. For many countries, tourism actually accounts for a significant proportion of their GDP which suffered massively as a result of the aforementioned lockdowns, including some of the most visited countries in the world. In 2019 alone, more than 1.5 billion people travelled internationally while billions more traveled domestically, though the number saw a massive decline of 72% once the pandemic hit.

Surprisingly, the restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic mostly came to an end / were reduced significantly after vaccines were developed by some of the biggest pharmaceutical in the world, on a timescale much faster than anticipated with much more success as well. Because of successful global inoculation which has seen over 5.5 billion receive a Covid-19 vaccine, approximating to over 72% of the world's population, countries were able to open up in early 2022 and pent-up demand for travel saw some of the largest airlines in the world including Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NASDAQ:DAL), American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ:AAL) and United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) to experience large increases in demand. Most of these companies laid of tens of thousands of employees during the pandemic and posted major losses in both 2020 and 2021 while many have also posted a loss in 2022, even as record revenue was earned. This was mainly a result of higher prices rather than volumes as the number of passengers still haven't recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Most airlines started to charge much higher prices for both economy and business class seats, though the latter saw a much greater increase in percentage terms. While many airlines are still some way away from breakeven, United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) and American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ:AAL) did become profitable again in Q2 2022 because of higher demand. When discussing the outlook for 2023, United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) stated in their earnings call for Q4 2022 "As we think about the revenue outlook for 2023, we are bullish about global long-haul. We expect industry capacity across both the Atlantic and Pacific. The United is the largest carrier to be flattish versus 2019, which provides for an easy setup and positive RASM year-over-year."

International demand remains incredibly strong, and we are looking at the potential for record profits and margins across our global network. Asia has traditionally been a margin drag on our global flying, but we’ve worked diligently to rebuild the network and close this gap. And we think 2023 will validate that we accomplish that goal. Asia is also close to being fully opened, allowing United to reestablish the bulk of the specific flying outside of China. It’s worth noting that restrictions on the use of Russian airspace will constrain United from flying both of our China network in 2023. This same restriction will also limit our ability to fly to India.

Of course, airlines aren't the only companies which are reaping the benefits of pent-up demand; hotels are cashing in as well, as tourists have been happy to pay higher prices which has led to higher revenues and profits for some of the largest hotel chains in the world.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, some regions in 2023 will see travel return to pre-pandemic levels which is huge news for one of the worst-hit industries by the pandemic. Europe is one of the regions leading the charge for tourism revival and this is expected to continue in 2023 according to the European Travel Commission, building on the foundation established in 2022, which is important considering that several European countries feature on our list of the most visited countries in the world. While long-haul travel is still behind short-haul and medium-haul, the prospects for 2023 still seem encouraging, though Eastern Europe will understandably see much slower growth because of the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war. Other challenges that the travel industry has to face include higher inflation which has hurt disposable income of customers while corporations are also cutting down on travel and face-to-face meetings in a bid to control expenses and deliver higher operating profit growth to shareholders. In Europe, the domestic sector is expected to post a full recovery by 2024 and international travel will recover by 2025. According to the President of the European Travel Commission, "Looking forward to 2023, we expect the tourism sector in Europe to continue its strong rebound. As European short-haul travel is well on its way to recovery, the tourism industry’s attention has now turned to long-haul arrivals. In welcome news, we can expect the long-awaited return of Asia Pacific visitors in the coming months. As the industry navigates the many challenges it faces this year, it is vital that the sector continues to be receptive to consumer demand, improving the visitor experience at destination and targeting markets and segments less affected by economic slowdown.”

To determine our list of the most visited countries in the world, we accessed the dashboard set up by the United Nation World Tourism Organization. Since 2022 statistics haven't been finalized yet, we relied on 2021 data. We checked both the number of visitors for each country and expenditure by tourists in the country in USD, assigning 80% weightage to the former criterion and 20% to the latter. So, let's now take a look at the countries expecting the most tourists in 2023, starting with:

35. Andorra

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 1.9

One of the biggest attractions of Andorra is the Caldea Spa Center which is a huge natural thermal spring complex which has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Andorra may be a small country but is home to several peaks and forests.

34. Latvia

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 1.9

The Baltic Sea coast and beautiful nature attract a lot of visitors to Latvia.

33. Jordan

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 2.0

Jordan is home to one of the modern wonders of the world in Petra, a historic archeological site. According to the Jordan Times, the city hit 905,000 visitors in 2022.

32. Bahrain

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 2.2

Bahrain has several islands where tourists can take advantage of the weather to bask in the sun or venture into desert dunes.

31. Colombia

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 2.2

Colombia is considered to be one of the most diverse countries in the world, home to two oceans, stunning wildlife and infinite activities including rock climbing, paragliding, diving, dancing and surfing.

30. South Africa

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 2.3

While South Africa's tourism numbers are impacted by its high crime rates, the country is home to some of the best safari parks in the world.

29. Czech Republic

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 2.3

The capital of Czech Republic, Prague, is one of the most visited cities in the world, boasting rich history and culture.

28. Puerto Rico

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 2.8

We are considering Puerto Rico as a separate country for our list of the most visited countries in the world. Puerto Rico's is home to amazing cuisine and is known for its festivals, lively nightlife and outdoor markets.

27. Kyrgyzstan

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 3.2

Kyrgyzstan attracts a lot of hikers thanks to its thousands of mountain trails which cross gorgeous passes and amazing peaks.

26. Belgium

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 3.2

For anyone visiting Belgium, a trip to Bruges is a must, with the Historic Center of Bruges being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Meanwhile, cities such as Brussels or Antwerp are also well worth visiting.

25. Canada

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 3.1

Canada is home to the most number of lakes of any country in the world, not to mention mountains and glaciers.

24. Belarus

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 3.4

Belarus is likely to drop off the the list of the most visited countries in the world after sanctions were implemented against the country for its involvement in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

23. Ukraine

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 3.7

Ukraine will definitely drop off this list when its updated for 2022 after Russia invaded the country in February 2022. Russia has destroyed many historical sites in Ukraine and it will probably take years if not decades for the country to return to normal.

22. Morocco

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 3.7

Hiking to remote waterfalls, desert treks, lively markets and beaches all contribute to Morocco being one of the most visited countries in the world.

21. Saudi Arabia

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 3.5

A large percentage of visitors to Saudi Arabia come to the country for an annual Islamic pilgrimage which is mandated for Muslims who can afford the trip.

20. Albania

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 5.0

Sandy beaches attract a vast majority of the over 5 million annual tourists in Albania.

19. Dominican Republic

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 4.4

One of the most visited Latin American countries, Dominican Republic relies on tourism for more than 10% of its GDP. Arrivals to the country are mainly from the U.S., Canada, France, Russia and Argentina.

18. Switzerland

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 4.3

One of the most expensive countries in Europe, Switzerland is home to numerous places to visit including Interlaken, Lucerne, Lausanne and of course its biggest cities in Zurich and Geneva. Meanwhile, St. Moritz is one of the most popular ski resorts in the country.

17. Bulgaria

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 6.3

Bulgaria is home to several important historic sites which include remnants from the very dawn of European civilization to current modern times. Of course, the country is also home to stunning natural beauty.

16. Netherlands

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 5.3

It takes several days to visit just Amsterdam properly, which also attracts many tourists for its famously lax marijuana laws and its Red District. However, Amsterdam is just one of the cities / towns that are a must-visit in Netherlands, with others including Zaanse-Schans, Hague and Giethoorn.

15. Hungary

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 7.2

Hungary is a relatively cheap place to visit especially for a European nation. Further, there's a lot of natural beauty in the country too especially in its countryside.

14. United Kingdom

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 6.2

London is generally the most-visited city in the UK but other areas attract a huge number of tourists as well including Brighton in England, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland, and Cork in Ireland.

13. Poland

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 9.7

Poland's capital Warsaw was destroyed more than 80% by Germans during World War II before being subjected to Russian rule for decades afterwards. Despite these massive setbacks, the country has recovered to become one of the fastest growing economies in Europe while continuing to attract tourists to various towns and cities including Gdansk and Krakow.

12. Portugal

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 9.6

Delicious food, must-visit vineyards, sunny weather and amazing landscapes have earned Portugal a place on our list of the most visited countries in the world.

11. Croatia

Number of visitors in 2021 (in millions): 10.6

Croatia has been popular for a while among tourists for its beaches but the TV show Game of Thrones resulted in millions more deciding to visit the tiny country, and especially the coastal city of Dubrovnik.

Click to continue reading and see the 10 most visited countries in the world.

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Disclosure: None. 35 most visited countries in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.