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Greg Rodgers

The Most Visited Countries in the World

By January 22, 2013

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Islands in Malaysia

Photo by Greg Rodgers

The numbers are in from 2011, and per the United Nations, France was the most visited country in the world.

The U.S. came in at second place with 62.3 million international tourists.

Despite unpleasant economic circumstances across the globe, Europe boasts six of the top 10 most visited countries in the world for 2011. Shocking, considering how much 'bang' you can get for the same amount of money in Asia. China ranked third on the list and surprisingly, Malaysia beat out Thailand as the ninth country on the list.

So why did 24.7 million international tourists head to Malaysia in 2011?

Why not! The country is friendly, interesting, and affordable. Fusion food and beautiful islands are just a couple of Malaysia's specialties.

A lion's share of the visitors to Malaysia were from adjacent and comparatively wealthy Singapore. Most of the American travelers that I meet while in Southeast Asia tend to include Malaysia as a secondary diversion, a place to snoop around for just a few days for something different. Unfortunate, because Malaysia really is a world-class destination.

And here's the United Nations World Tourism Organization list of the top 10 most visited countries of 2011 (per number of international tourists):

  1. France: 79.5 million
  2. United States: 62.3 million
  3. China: 57.6 million
  4. Spain: 56.7 million
  5. Italy: 46.1 million
  6. Turkey: 29.3 million
  7. United Kingdom: 29.2 million
  8. Germany: 28.4 million
  9. Malaysia: 24.7 million
  10. Mexico: 23.4 million

Interesting to note, that despite the global economy, international tourism grew in 2011 by 4.6% with 983 million international tourists. That's nearly a billion people out exploring this world of ours!

Here's a step-by-step travel guide for getting your passport and joining the action in Asia.

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