The United States may be the most powerful country in the world, but it’s not the most visited. Neither is rival superpower China -- at least not yet. According to a recent survey from the World Bank, the most visited country in the world is still, by leaps and bounds, France.
With its alluring capital, world-renowned wine and elegant café culture, France attracts approximately 81.4 million visitors annually, nearly 20 million more than its closest rival, according to the World Bank.
Given the lack of standardized counting methods, however, its survey comes with several caveats.
“When data on the number of tourists are not available, the number of visitors, which includes tourists, same-day visitors, cruise passengers and crew members, is shown instead,” the World Bank noted.
The international financial institution, whose numbers differ slightly from the annual UN World Tourism Organization figures, said collection methods for arrivals vary considerably across nations.
Continue Reading Below
“In come cases, data are from border statistics (police, immigration, and the like) and supplemented by border surveys. In other cases data are from tourism accommodation establishments.”
Some nations with limited information available restrict their measure to arrivals by air or arrivals at hotels, and some countries included nationals residing abroad in their statistics, while others did not.
Moreover, data on inbound tourists in the World Bank survey refers to the number of arrivals (not to the number of people traveling), so a person making multiple trips to a country during a given period could be counted as a new arrival each time.
Given these parameters, the World Bank warns, “Caution should thus be used in comparing arrivals across countries.”
Nevertheless, the resulting top 10 nations for tourist arrivals generally line up with other findings. Scroll through the slideshow above for a complete look.
READ ALSO: World’s Most Visited Cities