France named most visited country of 2017

Nearly 87 million people arrived in the country over last year

France has managed to confirm its position as the most desired destination in the world. With 86.9 million people visiting the country over the whole of 2017, the Hexagon topped the travel market, leaving Spain and the United States behind.

86.9 million people arrived in France in 2017 making it the world's most visited country — irisphoto1 / Shutterstock France named the most visited country of 2017
86.9 million people arrived in France in 2017 making it the world’s most visited country – irisphoto1 / Shutterstock

According to the data revealed by the World Tourism Organization recently, the whole travel sector increased by 7 per cent with more than 1.3 billion people visiting a foreign country in 2017. In 2016, the number was lower by 84 million people. Tourists also spent a record amount of money during their travels, the data suggest.

“International tourist arrivals grew 6.8 per cent in 2017, the highest increase since the 2009 global economic crisis and well above UNWTO’s long-term forecast of 3.8 per cent a year for the period 2010 to 2020,” the report says.

According to the organisation, the tourists’ spend reached $1.3 trillion over the year – which makes the travel industry the world’s third largest export sector.

Spain reached the second place in the ranking with 81.8 million people visiting the country — Shutterstock France named the most visited country of 2017
Spain came in second place with 81.8 million people visiting the country – Shutterstock

While the number of people visiting France increased by 5.1 per cent in comparison to 2016, the country with the highest growth in demand, however, was Turkey. Over 31 million arrived in the country last year, which is 24 per cent more than in 2016. 

In addition, according to the latest ANKER Report, which evaluates air traffic data, airports in Bodrum and Antalya underwent the largest growth in passenger traffic out of 30 European airports over July this year.

Turkey is coming back to the spotlight with the increase of 24 per cent in arrivals — Shutterstock France named the most visited country of 2017
Turkey is coming back to the spotlight with an increase of 24 per cent in arrivals – Shutterstock

From the top 10 visited countries of 2017, only the United States, which ended up in third position, experienced a decrease in the number of arrivals. 75.9 million people arrived in the country last year, which is 3.8 per cent less than over the year before.  

With 81.8 million tourists, 8.6 per cent more than in 2016, Spain managed to become the world’s second most visited destination.  

Top 10 most visited countries in 2017:

  1. France
  2. Spain
  3. USA
  4. China
  5. Italy
  6. Mexico
  7. UK
  8. Turkey
  9. Germany
  10. Thailand