Friday, October 28, 2011

Top 50 World's Most Visited Tourist Attractions by Travel + Leisure

This month Travel + Leisure Magazine published a ranking of the 50 most visited tourist attractions in the world. Forbes published a similar list in 2007 and at the time many agreed that the attractions listed deserved a ranking in the top 50. When the two lists are compared there are some surprises and omissions.

One obvious difference between the two rankings is the preponderance of attractions in the United States on the Travel + Leisure list. There are 28 compared to the Forbes ranking which listed only 19. Left off the T+L list were Pyramids of Giza (Egypt) 4 million and the Taj Mahal (Agra, India) 3 million. While others like Stonehenge (England) at 1 million visitors did not have the attendance to make either list.

Times Square (photo: TheHopefulTraveler)
Trafalgar Square in London which ranked number four on the Forbes list is excluded from the Travel + Leisure because of the methodology to determine the list. The local tourism bureau could not provide estimates that distinguished between visitors and locals. Similar to the Forbes ranking, Travel + Leisure defined "tourist attractions" as cultural and historical sites, landmarks and officially designated spaces. So Minnesota's Mall of American with 40 million visitors is exempt. Also excluded are sights that draw exclusively religious pilgrims.

Some things remained constant on the Travel + Leisure ranking, France contains the most popular attractions after the United States and that visitors have a continued fondness for Mickey Mouse.

Click on the name of an attraction for a link to a related website. Where an official website could not be found, the link is to an information or ticketing website. Count how many you have visited. I have a feeling this list will be much debated.

1) Times Square (New York City, NY) annual visitors 39.2 million
2) Central Park (New York City, NY) 38 million
3) Union Station (Washington, DC) 37 million
4) Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas, NV) 29.5 million
5) Niagara Falls (New York State and Ontario, Canada) 22.5 million
6) Grand Central Terminal (New York City, NY) 21.6 million
7) Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Boston, MA) 18 million
8) Disney World's Magic Kingdom (Orlando, FL) 17 million
9) Disneyland Park & Disney's California Adventure (Anaheim, CA) 16 million
10) Grand Bazaar (Istanbul, Turkey) 15 million

Grand Bazaar (photo: SteveButler/flickr)
11) Tokyo Disneyland (Tokyo, Japan) 14.5 million
12) Pier 39 (San Francisco, CA) 14 million
13) Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris, France) 13.7 million
14) Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA) 13 million
15) Forbidden City (Beijing, China) 12.8 million
16) Epcot (Lake Buena Visa, FL) 10.8 million
17) Disneyland Paris Resort (Marne-la-Valee, France) 10.5 million
18) Sacre Coeur Basilica (Paris, France) 10.5 million
19) Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront (Hong Kong) 10.1 million
20) Victoria Peak (Hong Kong) 10.1 million

View of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak (photo: hanneorla/flickr)
21) Pike Place Market (Seattle, WA) 10 million
22) The Zocalo (Mexico City) 10 million
23) Disney's Animal Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista, FL) 9.7 million
24) Disney's Hollywood Studios (Lake Buena Vista, FL) 9.6 million
25) Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee/North Carolina) 9.4 million
26) Great Wall of China (China) 9 million
27) South Street Seaport (New York City, NY) 9 million
28) Navy Pier (Chicago, IL) 8.7 million
29) Musee du Louvre (Paris, France) 8.5 million
30) National Air and Space Museum (Washington, DC) 8.3 million

National Air and Space Musuem (photo: ChadBendall/flickr)
31) Universal Studios Japan (Osaka, Japan) 8.2 million
32) Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia) 7.4 million
33) Everland (Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea) 6.9 million
34) National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC) 6.8 million
35) Eiffel Tower (Paris, France) 6.7 million
36) Lincoln Memorial (Washington, DC) 6 million
37) Bourbon Street (New Orleans, LA) 6 million
38) Universal Orlando / Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL) 5.9 million
39) Palace of Versailles (Versailles, France) 5.9 million
40) British Museum (London, England) 5.8 million

Lotte World (photo: krispyfreak/flickr)
41) Lotte World (Seoul, South Korea) 5.6 million
42) Grauman's Chinese Theatre / Hollywood Walk of Fame (Hollywood, CA) 5.5 million
43) French Market (New Orleans, LA) 5.4 million
44) Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City, NY) 5.2 million
45) Hong Kong Disneyland (Hong Kong) 5.2 million
46) The Colosseum (Rome, Italy) 5.1 million
47) Ocean Park (Hong Kong) 5.1 million
48) Sea World (Orlando, FL) 5.1 million
49) Tate Modern (London, England) 5.1 million
50) Universal Studios Hollywood (Universal City, CA) 5.0 million

Universal Studios Hollywood (photo: crabers.crab/flickr)


Carla said...

I want to go to the French market in New Orleans. I love those kind of ethnic markets in which you can see the culture of the country or colectivity they represent by the objects that member of the community give away. When I travelled to Argentina, I had my apartments for rent in buenos aires near to this fair in the middle of BA and they sold all the things related to Argentine culture: dulce de leche, a "mate" pot, plates for the "asado", a soccer ball, a Tango dress... It was pretty interesting!

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Unknown said...

All of these places are awesome i really appreciate your post. This year i got cheap umrah tickets so i would preffered to visit holy Makkah and to perform umrah.

Liat said...

Number 10 can't be Istanbul, Hungry.
Most probably this is Turkey?
I've been there in 2008.
Nevertheless, very interesting information :)

Anonymous said...

Not only have they said that Istanbul is the wrong country, they have also spelt Hungary incorrectly.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing. Very Brilliant post. Actually, I just crossed to your blog and truly I got interested with this. And great indeed! my time has used in the right. thanks.

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Unknown said...

Find 5 Top Tourist Attractions in Rio de Janeiro of Brazil here.

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