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Sunday, 30 January, 2000, 14:49 GMT
UK slips in world tourist league

Despite its attractions, the UK slipped in the visitors' league


More people are visiting China than Britain, according to figures for tourism for 1999.

Although the UK welcomed some 25.7 million overseas visitors last year, this was only the same number as in 1998.


Visitor league 1999
1. France - 71.40m
2. Spain - 51.95m
3. USA - 46.96m
4. Italy - 35.83m
5. China - 27.04m
6. UK - 25.74m
7. Mexico - 20.21m
8. Canada - 19.55m
9. Poland - 17.94m
10. Austria - 17.63m
But China saw visitor numbers increase by 7.9% to 27.04 million, beating the UK to fifth place in the World Tourism Organisation table.

France topped the table, attracting 71.4 million foreign visitors, clearly beating Spain (51.9 million) into second place.

Ireland received 6.51 million international visitors last year, a rise of 7.4% on its 1998 total.

Britain's failure to improve on its 1998 figures reflected the trend across Europe, where international tourism grew by just 1%.

However world tourism as a whole grew by 3.2% in 1999, buoyed by the economic recovery in Asia.

But WTO secretary-general Francesco Frangialli said the expected boost in travel for the millennium failed to materialise.

He said: "There was no Y2K bug and there was no boom in travel, but since many people don't believe the millennium starts until 2001, maybe the travel industry will get a second chance."

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See also:
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23 Nov 99 |  UK
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