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Countries with the Most Tourists (actual)

Guess the countries of the world that entertain the highest number of tourists (regardless of whether or not those tourists crossed an imaginary line on a map).
The data in the source is a bit out of date, but it's the best I could do.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: October 14, 2018
First submittedApril 15, 2013
Times taken3,426
Rating2.96
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Number of Tourists
Country
1,042.4 million
USA
664.0 million
China
322.1 million
India
178.2 million
Brazil
157.1 million
UK
Number of Tourists
Country
134.5 million
France
111.3 million
Indonesia
105.9 million
Poland
97.9 million
Canada
97.0 million
Germany
+2
level 77
Apr 15, 2013
The data for this quiz is old. China might already be the #1 tourist destination in the world, and if not it will be soon. I read somewhere that they were expecting 3 billion domestic tourists in China in 2013, which would almost certainly eclipse whatever number American tourism has grown to, but figures for almost all of these countries have grown since the data being used was published.
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level 43
Sep 22, 2014
Of course, that method is heavily biased toward large populous countries, and heavily biased against small less populous countries surrounded by many other countries. ;)
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level 77
Sep 23, 2014
Or... it's heavily biased toward accurately counting the number of tourists, and against using a selective criteria that grossly distorts the data based on quirks of geopolitics.
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level 77
Nov 3, 2014
wtf are you even talking about? Seriously you are totally off your rocker today. What happened to you? Once in a while before you used to say things that were intelligent.
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level 77
Nov 3, 2014
See the comments below (and responses) from benjaminbarker if you are too lazy to cut and paste the link and read up on the rationale for these figures which are part of a joint study from many prestigious universities and not something I invented myself. Driving past the Arc de Triomphe does not count as tourism. Driving from Paris to Cannes and getting a hotel for the night to spend the next morning on the beach does. And absolutely should.
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level 77
Nov 4, 2014
and.. you're from France? No wonder you're whining so much about this.
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level 43
Feb 4, 2016
And.. you're american? No wonder you'had been whining for so long about this.
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level 43
Feb 4, 2016
:)
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level 77
Feb 6, 2016
The place I was born actually has nothing at all to do with my position. I don't attach my ego to my nationality. And I have proven this very clearly. I have no problem at all admitting areas where the US isn't #1. In fact in the comments section of this quiz I concede that, if I had up-to-date information, there is no doubt that China would be #1 now. Sorry.
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level 43
May 2, 2016
So what exactly makes you say just because we are french we can't "have no problem at all admitting areas where [France] isn't #1"? Where you compelled by any mystic force to do so?
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level 77
May 3, 2016
I didn't say that.
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level 77
May 3, 2016
Drunken Gandalf has implied a couple times that I somehow am unable to accept when the USA isn't #1, or that I am skewing data or biased in which data set I accept because it favors the USA. But this is demonstrably false and I've proven as much. I really honestly don't care at all if the country I was born into isn't #1 at something, even if I have to accept this far less often than a Frenchman would. Perhaps if tourism was all we had left I would be more sensitive about giving up the title.
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level 43
May 5, 2016
Yeah you don't sound like bitching at all, as too often..
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level 77
May 5, 2016
In your imagination, where as far as I can tell I often say things that I've never said, I'm sure I sound quite a bit different than in the real world.
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level 77
Oct 14, 2018
This quiz is different from most other lists on the subject as, usually, those lists do not count domestic tourists as tourists. This way of measuring is, of course, heavily biased toward small countries surrounded by many other countries and produces laughably inaccurate data such as, for example, the idea that Prague entertains more tourists than Orlando. That's just flat out wrong.

So... I went digging for better information that included both domestic and international tourists and counted them the same. On this quiz 1 tourist = 1 tourist regardless of nearby geography and geopolitics. However, it's hard to find data like this, thus the small size of the quiz and the fact that the data is not up-to-date.
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level 77
Apr 16, 2013
Japan is #11 on this list if anyone is curious.
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level 45
Apr 19, 2013
This is a great quiz, kalbahamut, thanks so much for that.
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level 77
Apr 19, 2013
You're welcome. :) Thanks for commenting. I'm happy someone enjoyed it.
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level 40
Apr 20, 2013
It's extremely difficult to believe that Poland attracts more tourists than Germany, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Croatia and Greece. Not sure if this is reality being 'adjusted' to fit a personal vision.
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level 77
Apr 20, 2013
Having been to most of those countries, I have no problem at all believing Poland gets more tourists than the Czech Republic or Croatia. Suggesting otherwise actually seems a bit silly. Germany, Spain and Italy on the other hand would be surprising, but all it would take for this to be true would be for Poles (on average) to take a vacation within their own country thrice per year, and Spaniards to do so only 1-2x. That would even up the scores given Spain's lead in receiving more international tourists. As to your implication that the data has been adjusted, well if you are speaking to my own integrity I've demonstrated time and again that this at least exceeds your own. I don't just make stuff up to put on my quizzes. If you're implying that the five researches who put together the study (one from Carnegie Mellon, one from Leuven in Belgium, and three from the University of Hamburg) had a personal agenda to put Poland ahead of Germany, I'd love to hear what it was.
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level 77
Apr 21, 2013
The discrepancy I mentioned above could be explained one of three possible ways (and maybe more). Possible explanation a) Spaniards take fewer vacations than Poles. b) when Spaniards take vacation, they stay at home rather than traveling. c) when Spaniards travel, they go to France or the UK or Portugal (or Poland) while Poles tend to travel within their own country... or any combination of the above.
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level 35
May 9, 2013
I'm from Poland and my explanation is as follows: 1. Everything in Poland - accomodation, food, especially alcochol and prostitutes - is cheaper than in other countries. 1 euro = 4,12 zloties actually. In fact most Poles are poor and the prices are still raising, but for tourists they are funny. 2. Poles spend vacations mainly in Poland, because they can't afford an abroad trip. We've got Baltic Sea, Sudetes, Carpathian Mountains, the province Masuria with many lakes and beautiful views. We don't have to go abroad if we want to admire nice landscapes or spend time in more active ways. But if we would want to go abroad, we have to accumulate money for a long time. I don't know the trends of Spaniards or other nations, but Poland becomes more and more attractive for tourists, however the society becomes rather poorer every year, mainly because of the government making running a business more and more difficult and unprofitable, what is generating unemployment. Sorry for my weak english
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level 77
May 10, 2013
Hi Pawel. Thanks for your input. I've been to Poland myself and concur that it's a very beautiful country and everything there seems very cheap to a tourist. So I can understand why it's an attractive tourist destination for foreigners and also why Poles, who maybe don't have as much money to travel as Germans or other West Europeans, would be inclined to visit places within their own country when they take a vacation. They probably can't afford to travel to more expensive countries like Spain or Italy which can be very expensive to visit even for someone from a wealthy country.
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level 35
May 15, 2013
Exactly :)
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level 47
Nov 28, 2016
pawelkrknh, the exchange rate doesn't mean that because 1 Euro = 4.12 zloty that goods in Poland are 1/4.12 the price... stuff in Poland don't have the same 'price' as stuff in Europe, just with a different currency. While I'm sure the prices in Poland are cheaper than the rest of Europe on average, the exchange rate is not a good way of proving it.
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level 77
Nov 28, 2016
reless: yes and no.
While, of course, in the abstract you are right. For instance, just because Kosovo uses the Euro (1 eur = $1.10 USD) and Japan uses the Yen (1 yen = approx $0.01 USD), it does NOT follow that Tokyo is 100x cheaper than Pristina! :D
On the other hand, if you are looking at recent trends, such as how the strength of the US dollar has increased 100% versus the Ukrainian grivna in the last couple years, then it can actually make a big impact because inflation tends to lag behind currency depreciation somewhat. It's complicated. Often a devalued currency means a place is very cheap for tourists. Other times not. I don't think Pawel was implying that exchange rates are exactly correlated to value of goods. Though I am surprised at how often I encounter people who believe that. As if a cheeseburger costs 1 rupee in India and 1 dollar in the USA even though it's about 50 rupees to the dollar. That's just not how it works. But India (and Poland) are very cheap.
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level 47
Nov 28, 2016
Yes I should have been clearer, I meant by just looking at at the exchange rate on its own doesn't tell you how expensive a place of going to be. But even then while comparing over time will give you an indication of its inflation, it still won't actually tell you how much it will cost to go there.
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level 77
Nov 28, 2016
You were perfectly clear and I understood what you were saying. Maybe I wasn't clear when I responded.
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level 49
Jul 4, 2013
I'm just curious...do you happen to know what number Mexico is?
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level 77
Jul 5, 2013
I don't know. I wish that the data I'd found was a bit more comprehensive and I would have made a longer list, but it wasn't.
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level 64
Jul 10, 2013
I'm just curious of how these stats work. If I take a week off work, and spend it outside my hometown (Copenhagen), am I then considered a tourist? And how far away from my home do I need to go, to be considered a tourist?
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level 77
Jul 10, 2013
I find your skepticism encouraging. Your laziness a bit less so. :) You can find the answers if you follow the link I posted above to the study. I'll cut & paste a little bit here:
" Data are mostly in the form of number of trips to destinations beyond a non- negligible distance from the place of residence, an d involving at least one overnight stay. For some countries such data format was not available, and we resorted to either the number of registered guests in hotels, campsites, hostels etc ., or the ratio between the number of overnight stays and the average length of stay. The latter formats underestimate domestic tourism by excluding trips to friend and relatives; nevertheless we included such data for completeness. "
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level 77
Jul 10, 2013
I couldn't find a definition of "non-negligible" distance, but it might be in there somewhere if you look...
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level 54
Aug 20, 2016
IIRC the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO, unrelated to the WTO, confusing) says 50 km.
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level 24
Jul 28, 2013
suprise to see poland and no russia or japan or thailand
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level 77
Jul 28, 2013
Using my own calculations from the available data, I'm pretty sure that Japan is very close and winds up #11. And almost all of their tourism is domestic. I don't think this is because nobody wants to visit Japan; I think it's probably just because it's pretty well isolated. Even from most other parts of Asia, Japan isn't that easy to get to.
Russia and Thailand both get a sizeable number of tourists and I'm also a bit surprised they didn't do better in the rankings. I think there are a combination of factors. Thailand doesn't generate a lot of domestic tourists, that's one. Even though there are a lot of people living in Thailand, most of them don't have the money to go on vacation. Also, Thailand is just as isolated from the major source countries of international tourists (Europe and North America) as Japan is. As China becomes an increasingly important source country for international tourism, a trend we've seen happening in a big way the last couple years, this may change.
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level 77
Jul 28, 2013
Russia generates a ton of tourists itself but it seems like the majority of them prefer to leave the country (probably for somewhere warmer) rather than stay in Russia. If you've ever been to Sharm AlSheikh in Egypt you'll see that place is almost all Russian.
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level 77
Mar 17, 2014
I found an article yesterday that apparently this year Bangkok is going to receive more international tourists than Paris, marking the first time an Asian city has been the #1 international tourist destination in the world for at least a hundred years or so. I have personally witnessed tourism in Thailand booming the last several years, from my first visit in 2007 when it was still pretty quiet to my last trip in 2014 when things were booming. Though I'm happy for Thailand, I'm personally disappointed with this trend but I guess like they say, you can never go home, and you can never step in the same river twice.

I blame this on positive word of mouth... all those single guys going to Thailand, having an amazing time, then going back home and telling all their friends that Thailand is the best country on Earth. And also the tourism booms of China, Russia, and the Middle East. Used to be only Americans and Western Europeans (plus a few Ozzies etc) there, not so anymore.
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level 16
Aug 20, 2013
I don't really agree It seems a bit wrong what about italy or spain I read your comments but I still disagree
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level 77
Aug 20, 2013
hm.. okay.. based on what?
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level 36
Feb 18, 2014
1 BILLION? Is this per year!?
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level 77
Feb 19, 2014
yes, per year. Though individual people can be counted multiple times if they take more than one trip in the year. Americans like to travel, and other people like to travel to America. The combination of the two = lots of tourists visiting places in the USA.
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level 77
Apr 5, 2014
and equally easy to reach the numbers France has in international tourism if you count all the people who visit from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Luxemboug, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, San Marino, and Denmark, all of which are closer to France than the distance between New York City and upstate New York. and much much closer than the distance between upstate New York and Americans living in California, Texas, Florida, Washington state, Alaska, Puerto Rico or Hawaii- all of whom do not count if you ignore domestic tourism.
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level 77
Nov 4, 2014
That's not what I'm doing at all. Take your crazy pills and maybe you'll stop saying things so profoundly asinine.

A tourist is a tourist. That's all I'm saying. If city A receives 10,000 domestic tourists a day and 3,000 international tourists, and city B receives 1,000 domestic tourists and 3,500 international tourists (with similar definitions of tourist used for each type), you think it is "profoundly dishonest" to say that city A receives more tourists? Sorry, but that's profoundly stupid.
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level 43
Feb 4, 2016
Except that's all about lullabies. The numbers you disagree with are as much actual numbers but about international tourists. They are used to compare the number of foreigners who visit each country. That's all. You have no reason to call one thing biased and the other the very actual one (Yep that's what you do, right in the title, and then you explain it quite clearly) when there are just different things. What I'd like to see is a "most touristic" quiz that uses the ratio between the number of tourists and the land area (and/or the local population?).
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level 77
Feb 6, 2016
At no point am I whining. I'm simply making the unassailable and totally unbiased point that on a list of places that entertain the most tourists, if you discount all tourists that did not cross an international border (a very arbitrary distinction, especially given the nature of travel between European countries these days)... this is *massively* misleading. A tourist is a tourist is a tourist. This is my only position and it involves no bias. Trying to say a tourist is not a tourist because it allows you to skew data IS biased.
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level 51
May 3, 2014
You also all forget that Poland is actually in a huge niche tourism-wise, a niche that almost no other countries in the world can fill. It is one of the only countries (with Germany, I think) where you can visit Nazi working camps and extermination camps. You wouldn't believe the huge numbers of people going to Poland to visit Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau, the Warsaw ghetto, etc. Living in France, I can tell you that almost all high-schools/middle-schools in the country send some or all of their classes to visit the camps in Poland. I did such a travel, and there was tuns of people making the same trip, from all over the world. It is also a type of pilgrimage for Jewish people from across the globe to commemorate the memory of their ancestors. Plus, as you said, cheap alcohol, cheap cigarettes, cheap food and rather attractive, beautiful and historic cities (Warsaw and Krakow were amazing, culture-wise and entertainment-wise). :)
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level 77
May 4, 2014
I regret that I didn't have time to stop in Krakow during my own trip to Poland. I spent most of my time in Gdansk/Gdynia/Sopot/Hel, plus an afternoon in Warsaw and a couple days in Lublin. But I'll go back next year and visit Krakow then.
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level 77
Nov 13, 2016
I visited Krakow earlier this year. It's a very beautiful city I can't deny that. And the trip to nearby Auschwitz was both harrowing and unforgettable. But to be honest I didn't really care for the city that much. Mostly because it is so teeming with drunken tourists and other unseemly things as a result. I didn't have the most pleasant of experiences there.
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level 77
May 4, 2014
When you started saying rather attractive, beautiful.... I was with you but then you switched course and started talking about cities. Reminded me of Monty Python... she's got huuuuge... tracts of land. ;-)
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level 46
Jun 3, 2014
Forgot Somalia and Sudan
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level 44
Jun 30, 2014
I am surprised that the Vatican didn't make any of the lists I have seen.
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level 77
Jun 30, 2014
While I'm sure they receive their fair share, I'm also sure that it's nowhere even close to 97 million, which they would need to make the top 10 on this list.
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level 77
Sep 16, 2017
Also the criteria used by the researchers who tabulated this data includes an overnight stay. I don't think there are any hotels in the Vatican.
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level 55
Aug 8, 2014
Embarrassing to miss Poland since I've been there as a tourist...
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level 38
Oct 23, 2014
Could you perhaps make a top 20 list? I didn't feel like there was much of a challenge.
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level 77
Oct 23, 2014
Find me reliable recent data and I'll happily expand or update this. It took a lot of digging to even find stats on the top 10.
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level 41
Nov 11, 2014
Its strange that Poland is here but its beautiful country and i think that many people travelling here.
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level 58
Jan 9, 2019
See pawelkrknh and kalbahamut's discussion for some possible reasons why Poland is so high -- in short, a good combination of affordability, ease of travel, and large number of attractions.
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level 42
Nov 29, 2014
but Poland over Spain, Italy and few more?
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level 77
Nov 29, 2014
Italy and Spain are very expensive.
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level 74
Feb 11, 2015
Nice quiz. I wish the list was longer. I'm curious to know what my country, Egypt, would do on this list!
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level 77
Feb 11, 2015
I believe Egypt's amount of domestic tourism is negligible, so we can get a pretty complete picture if we just look at international arrivals. Between 2010 and the present each year Egypt has received between 9 and 15 million international tourists. They took a big hit following the revolution in '10 and haven't recovered since then, but I think the're still the #1 tourist destination in Africa. I don't know how much domestic figures would boost their overall total but still probably nowhere near 97 million. I could be wrong. There are a lot of people in Egypt.
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level 76
Mar 27, 2015
This quiz is a bit pointless - why not just show the number of international tourists which is a much more relevant metric?
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level 77
Oct 19, 2015
For people who don't understand why this is simply wrong, there is already a quiz like that elsewhere on the site.
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level 33
Jun 14, 2015
Was surprised not to see Italy, Spain, or Greece...
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level 77
Jun 17, 2015
Spain and Italy are not too far behind. Greece's total figure is actually pretty low. And the main reason for this is that these countries do not receive much domestic tourism.
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level 20
Aug 2, 2015
Good Quiz
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level 20
Apr 3, 2016
how does uk beat france and Poland and Indonesia beat spain and italy
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level 77
Apr 3, 2016
The UK entertains significantly more domestic tourists than France does.
The UK entertains more domestic tourists and more international tourists than Poland does. Not sure why you are confused about that one.
Indonesia, a country of 250 million people, entertains many more domestic tourists than either Spain or Italy.

Not hard to understand. Many of these small European countries show up on lists that only count international tourists because of the political nature of Europe. That being that there are very many very small countries that border many other very small countries, traveling between them is simple, within the Schengen Area it's as easy as driving between U.S. states- no border checkpoints or passport control or anything. However, when you live in such a small country surrounded by other small countries, when you go on vacation you're probably going to leave the country. Thus, their domestic tourism numbers are smaller.
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level 77
Apr 3, 2016
Count every tourist as a tourist instead of selectively ignoring billions of them that don't cross an international boundary and a more accurate picture emerges of the number of tourists received by each of these places.
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level 20
May 3, 2016
sorry didn't make myself clear how does Poland beat Spain and Italy and possibly germany
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level 77
May 3, 2016
This has been discussed at length in the comments above. If you want to add something new to the discussion you're welcome to.
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level 54
Aug 20, 2016
Forgot Germany, that was incalculably silly.
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level 47
Nov 29, 2016
While I don't think this quiz is biased to certain countries, it would be quite interesting to have number of 'tourist days' or something to see how long the tourists actually spend in the countries.
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level 77
Nov 29, 2016
I'm guessing that data would be ever harder to come up with.
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level 35
Jan 1, 2017
10/10. I really just started typing random countries after I got the ninth one.
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level 66
Sep 15, 2017
You just know that when figures are rehashed on some complicated basis by an American that it is to ensure that the USA becomes top of the list. Poland has more tourists than Spain - which doesn't even figure on the list? Ridiculous. Presumably anyone flying into Heathrow, spending the night and flying out next morning counts for the UK too? No way could the figures be that high otherwise - surprised you didn't count the Irish and Northern Irish crossing the frontier to shop depending on how the respective currencies are performing - or perhaps you did. Don't waste your time with this quiz.
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level 77
Sep 16, 2017
There's no rehashing here. I didn't make the data. The study was conducted by Germans and Belgians. The American ex-pat who lives all over the world, who doesn't believe in nationalism, who is openly against the idea of patriotism in part because it leads to idiotic rants like the above, and who also authored this quiz has happily and openly admitted that with up-to-date data China would be #1, not the USA. The many comments above fully address your asinine complaints.

Conclusion: you are either a hypocrite guilty of the bigotry and bias you project onto others, or a complete idiot. Probably both. The USA exists. Grow up and get over it.
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level 77
Sep 16, 2017
and.. "complicated?" Counting 1 tourist as 1 tourist is complicated? Rather than ignoring millions based on their place of origin? Again, what I said above...