The list of fastest growing tourism spots is full of surprises, with countries that have been in the headlines for a number less positive reasons - yet this list could mark a return to tourism confidence writes the Daily Mail

Egypt is the fastest growing tourist destination and France is the most visited country, new UN figures have revealed.

Visitor numbers to Egypt jumped 55.1 per cent to 8.6 million in 2017 - a huge turnaround.

The number of foreign tourists in Egypt went from 14.7 million in 2010 to 5.2 million in 2016 after the suspension of flights following the downing of a Russian charter jet and the turmoil following the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

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The Egyptian Resort of Sharm El Sheikh: The 55.1 per cent rise marks a cautious return to confidence in Egypt as a tourism favourite. Photo / Antony Jones, Getty Images
The Egyptian Resort of Sharm El Sheikh: The 55.1 per cent rise marks a cautious return to confidence in Egypt as a tourism favourite. Photo / Antony Jones, Getty Images

France retained its 2016 No1 ranking in the most-visited list with 86.9million visitors, beating Spain into second place (81.8million) and the USA into third (75.9million).

The figures were published by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in its annual tourism highlights report.

Egypt attracts tourists to the likes of Giza and Luxor, who come to discover the great pyramids and the Sphinx.

Meanwhile resorts around the Red Sea pull in visitors looking for beach holidays and offer spectacular diving.

The second-fastest growing destination is the African country of Togo, which saw a 46.7 per cent jump in visitors.

Fortified Tata: African country of Togo, which saw a 46.7 per cent jump in visitors. Photo / Philippe Roy, Getty Images
Fortified Tata: African country of Togo, which saw a 46.7 per cent jump in visitors. Photo / Philippe Roy, Getty Images

Here, visitors can enjoy palm-fringed beaches on the Atlantic coast as well as lush forests further north.

A rise of 29.1 per cent in visitors sees Vietnam, known for its beautiful beaches and rivers, named the third-fastest growing destination.

While in fourth place is Palestine, which saw a 25.7 per cent rise in tourists in 2017.

Tourists travel to Palestine to visit the holy site of Bethlehem, which is home to the Church of the Nativity, as well as the Mar Saba Monastery and the Mosque of Omar.

Palestine: Tourists pose at the Church of the Nativity, on the West Bank. Photo / Ilia Yefimovich, Getty Images
Palestine: Tourists pose at the Church of the Nativity, on the West Bank. Photo / Ilia Yefimovich, Getty Images

Rounding off the top five fastest-growing tourist destinations is New Zealand's tiny associate island of Niue in the South Pacific, which saw tourist numbers rise by 25.7 per cent in 2017.

Other places that saw huge rises in tourist numbers included Nepal (24.9 per cent, 6th), Israel (24.6 per cent, 7th), the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean (24.3 per cent, 8th) as well as Turkey and Iceland (both 24.1 per cent, tied in 9th).

In the most-visited countries list China comes fourth with 60.7million visitors in 2017 then Italy, which welcomed 58.3million people.

In sixth place is Mexico on 39.3million visitors followed by the UK on 37.7million visitors in 2017.

Other countries in the top ten most visited destinations are Turkey (37.6million, 8th), Germany (37.5million, 9th) and Thailand (35.4million, 10th).

World's most visited and fastest growing tourists destinations





The fastest-growing
tourist destinations

1. Egypt — 55.1%

2. Togo — 46.7%

3. Vietnam — 29.1%

4. Palestine — 25.7%

5. Niue — 25.4%

6. Nepal — 24.9%

7. Israel — 24.6%

8. Northern Mariana Islands — 24.3%

9= Turkey (tie) — 24.1%

9= Iceland (tie) — 24.1%

The most-visited
countries in the world

1. France — 86.9million

2. Spain — 81.8million

3. U.S. — 75.9million

4. China — 60.7million

5. Italy — 58.3million

6. Mexico — 39.3million

7. U.K. — 37.7million

8. Turkey — 37.6million

9. Germany — 37.5million

10. Thailand — 35.4million