by Thomas Colson of businessinsider.com
The World Economic Forum’s “Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report,” which is published every two years, measures the relative health of 136 leading countries’ tourism sectors using a wide range of sub-indexes, including safety and security, natural resources, soundness of infrastructure, health and hygiene, and price competitiveness.
The sub-indexes are then aggregated into an overall score between 1 and 7. A score of 7 is the highest possible. While no country scored a perfect 7, there are a number of countries that claimed a score of over 6.
European destinations took the three top spots, while a popular tourist destination in Asia made it into fourth place.
13. Singapore — Over 15 million tourists visit the city-state every year. Officials have made efforts to boost that figure in recent years: casinos were legalised in 2005, and it also promotes itself as a medical tourism hub, with over 200,000 foreigners seeking medical care there each year.
12. Austria — International tourism is the biggest part of Austria’s economy, accounting for 9% of GDP. Its capital, Vienna, is known as the “City of Music” because of its central role as a European music centre from, attracts nearly 4 million people alone.
11. Hong Kong — The autonomous territory in East Asia is the eleventh-most-visited designation in the world, and posted a total of over £30 billion in international tourism receipts in 2014.
10. Switzerland — The tourism industry is an important one for Switzerland’s economy, especially the country’s less developed Alpine regions. Much of the country’s tourism sector caters to recreational activities including skiing and hiking.
9. Canada — The north American country is the world’s second largest, and boasts a diverse array of landscapes, climates and cultures. Many visitors flock to Canada’s three largest cities: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
8. Italy — With over 50 million tourists a year, Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world, generating over £150 billion dollars every year. People visit Italy for its art, cuisine, history, and culture, as well as its picturesque coastline and beaches.
7. Australia — Visitors flock to Australia across the world for its temperate climate, huge array of natural resources, and vibrant cities. Popular places to visit include the Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo Island, and cities including Melbourne and Perth.
6. United States — The US attracts the second-highest number of tourists after France. Tourists visit to see natural wonders including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, as well as vibrant cities including Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
5. United Kingdom — Tourism is a huge part of Britain’s economy, generating 9% of the country’s GDP and nearly 10% of its jobs. The English capital, London, is the most-visited city in the world.
4. Japan — Japan’s popularity among tourists continues to grow, with 24.03 million international tourists visiting in 2016. It boasts 20 World Heritage sites, including the ancient monuments at Kyoto and the Himeji castle.
3. Germany — Located in central-western Europe, Germany is the seventh-most visited country in the world, and its capital, Berlin, is the third-most-visited city in the world. Its most-visited landmarks include the Heidelberg Castle, the Bundestag in Berlin, and the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.
2. France — The western European country is known as a global centre for art, science, and philosophy which attracts more tourists than any other country in the world. Its capital, Paris, is the fifth-most-visited city in the world.
1. Spain — Located in southwestern Europe, Spain boasts long stretches of picturesque coastline and cities which are thriving hubs of culture and history.