In 2024, What Is the World’s Best Country for Tourism?

Manhattan Bridge, New York City | Image Credit: Northstar MG
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When it comes to the world’s best countries for tourism, Europe dominated the top 10 spots, but the country ranked number one might just surprise you.

One country that’s seemingly more famous for its political and military pursuits, along with its endless global exports of tech and blockbuster entertainment, has just earned a significant accolade in the realm of tourism, being named the world’s best country for travel and tourism in 2024 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), as recently reported by CNN.

Start spreadin’ the news: This city is the number one tourist destination in the world’s best country for tourism | Image Credit: Crain’s

This prestigious ranking is based on a comprehensive set of criteria, including infrastructure, natural resources, sustainability, labor availability, and competitive pricing. It’s important to note that the WEF data focuses on the business of tourism—hotels, airports, attractions, and airlines—rather than just the traveller’s experience.


Six of the top ten countries on the list are in Europe, with Spain leading the continent. The report highlights Europe as a resilient destination with robust intra-regional travel flows and excellent train connectivity. Economic strength, a favorable position of the Euro and UK pound, and a high propensity for travel among Europeans contribute to its top rankings. France, in particular, scores highly, landing in fourth place overall, bolstered by the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris.

France is a perennial favourite and scored very highly in the WEF’s 2024 rankings | Image Credit: The Independent
Spain was the highest-ranked destination in Europe | Image Credit: TripAdvisor

The power of European passports also plays a role, with France, Germany, Italy, and Spain among the countries boasting the world’s most powerful passports according to the Henley Index.


Asia is also making significant strides in global tourism. Japan, ranked third, has seen a tourism boom since reopening post-pandemic, with over three million foreign tourists visiting in March and April 2024 alone.

The report notes that global tourism growth in 2024 is expected to be driven by pent-up demand and the resurgence of major Asian markets.

Tourism in China has picked up the pace in 2024 | Image Credit: TTR Weekly

China, in eighth place, has eased travel restrictions, making it more accessible for tourists by dropping visa requirements for several European countries and simplifying the visa process for Americans. Singapore was ranked a respectable 13th place, while Malaysia came in 38th. Neighbouring Thailand, which you may have expected to do far better, ranked only a bit better than Malaysia, landing at 36th place.

Kuala Lumpur endures as one of Malaysia’s biggest tourism draws | Image Credit: TTG Asia


If you hadn’t guessed already, the United States stands out as the world’s top country for travel and tourism, and the only country in the Americas in the top 10. (Canada just missed out, ranked in 11th place.)

Described by the WEF as a “mature” tourism market, the US boasts extensive infrastructure to accommodate visitors, including air links, tour guides, rental cars, and innumerable hotels. Its vast landscape offers a wide variety of attractions, from picturesque national parks and bustling big cities to beautiful beaches and wilderness solitude. However, the report cautions about a potential tourism labor shortage, a lingering effect of the pandemic that saw many workers leave the hospitality industry.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | Image Credit: Brynwood on the River


The list of popular tourist destinations also brings attention to the issue of overtourism. While large countries like the US and China can distribute the influx of visitors more evenly, smaller destinations face challenges. In Spain, for instance, Barcelona has voted to limit cruise ships in the city center, and residents of the Canary Islands have protested against overtourism. Italy, ranked ninth, has introduced measures like a tourist tax in Venice and hotel capacity caps in Bolzano-South Tyrol to manage the impact of tourism on local communities.

Venice’s immense popularity means that the Italian city struggles with overtourism | Image Credit: The Art


  1. United States
  2. Spain
  3. Japan
  4. France
  5. Australia
  6. Germany
  7. United Kingdom
  8. China
  9. Italy
  10. Switzerland
Mather Point, Grand Canyon, Arizona | Image Credit: US National Park Service

These rankings reflect the diverse appeal and varied challenges of global tourism. From the bustling cities and natural wonders of the United States to the rich cultural heritage and scenic landscapes of Europe and Asia, the world’s top destinations offer something for every traveler. However, the industry must continue to balance growth with sustainability to ensure that these popular spots remain vibrant and welcoming for years to come.

Miami Beach, Florida has racked up numerous travel and lifestyle destination awards and is among the most popular US travel hotspots | Image Credit: MBVCA

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