The 10 Most Popular Destinations For International travellers

great wall china

Photo: Pedronet via Flickr

Despite a down economy worldwide—or perhaps because of it— people are still going on vacation. International tourism was up 7% in 2010, as 940 million people crossed borders to experience something new.Though we can’t say what countries were the most popular this year, we have the numbers for last year’s most visited nations (from the World Tourism organisation).

Many of the top 10 have incredible cultural landmarks, food, and history to explore. If you can stand the big crowds, you may want to check them out yourself.

10. Mexico

Arrivals (in millions): 22.4

per cent change from 2009: +4.4

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for Mexico: Mexico City, Oaxaca, Palenque, Teotihuacán, Puerto Escondido

9. Malaysia

Arrivals (in millions): 24.6

per cent change from 2009: +3.9

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for Malaysia: Pulau Langkawi, Penang, Kota Bharu, Cameron Highlands, Pulau Perhentian

8. Germany

Arrivals (in millions): 26.9

per cent change from 2009: +10.9

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for Germany: Berlin, Rügen Island, Dresden, Cologne, Hamburg

7. Turkey

Arrivals (in millions): 27.0

per cent change from 2009: +5.9

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for Turkey: Istabul, Safranbolu, Pergamum, Gallipoli Peninsula, Ephesus

6. United Kingdom

Arrivals (in millions): 28.1

per cent change from 2009: -0.2

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for the U.K.: London, The Cotswolds, Lake District, Bath, Manchester

5. Italy

Arrivals (in millions): 43.6

per cent change from 2009: +0.9

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for Italy: Venice Carnevale, Settimana Santa (Holy Week), Pompeii, Trevi Fountain, world's best ice cream: Noto

4. Spain

Arrivals (in millions): 52.7

per cent change from 2009: +1.0

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for Spain: Barcelona, Balearic Islands, Granada, San Sebastian, Madrid

3. China

Arrivals (in millions): 55.7

per cent change from 2009: +9.4

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for China: Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, The Bund in Shanhai, The Great Wall, the Li River.

2. United States

Arrivals (in millions): 59.7

per cent change from 2009: +8.7

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for U.S.: Dip into the Great Lakes; Make a pitstop at Carhenge, Nebraska; Go zip-lining in Ketchikan; Meet Lucy the Margate Elephant in Atlantic City; Play Ultimate Frisbee in Washington, DC

1. France

Arrivals (in millions): 76.8

per cent change from 2009: No change

Lonely Planet's Top Picks for France: The Vallée Blanche descent, the museums of Paris, Mont St-Michel, savour bubbles in Épernay, slurp oysters in Gujan Mestras

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