I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where tourism is a big deal. I learned to love travelling from a young age, and I’ve had the good fortune to visit places and people around the world.
I also like lists. That’s nothing to do with where or how I was brought up, I just like them.
So a list of the top 10 most visited countries in the world is incredibly appealing to me.
- France, 79.5 million
- USA, 62.3 million
- China, 57.6 million
- Spain, 56.7 million
- Italy, 46.1 million
- Turkey, 29.3 million
- UK, 29.2 million
- Germany, 28.4 million
- Malaysia, 24.7 million
- Mexico, 23.4 million
These are international tourist arrivals in 2011, and I guess the countries here aren’t that surprising. OK, China is a bit surprising, and Turkey, and Malaysia. But they can be explained, I think.
- China is the largest part of the hugely populated Far East, so I’d guess they get a bunch of Asian arrivals.
- Turkey, I guess, is a popular (cheap) beach holiday destination for Europeans, as well as boasting a rich historical, um, history.
- Malaysia, um, I don’t know, Kuala Lumpur? Beaches? [Ed. Nearly 53% of visitors come from Singapore. Interesting?]
I’ve visited five of that top 10, which I suppose is about (and mathematically) average. But just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s right. Check this out:
- Nauru, 200
- Somalia, 500
- Tuvalu, 1200
- Kiribati, 4700
- Marshall Islands, 5000
- Equatorial Guinea, 6000
- Turkmenistan, 7000
- Sao Tome & Principe, 8000
- Comores, 15,000
- Afghanistan, 17,500
Honestly, I was hoping I’d visited at least one of the 10 least visited countries in the world, but no. I hadn’t even heard of all of them (Tuvalu? Doesn’t he play for the Highlanders?)
So there’s the obvious challenge: visit all of the top 10, and one of the bottom. Or the other way around if you prefer. Just go, and send pictures.