Spain, Germany, France, Italy top vacation spots

By Felicity Long

Four of the top five most popular travel destinations last year were in Europe: Spain, Germany, France and Italy, according to a study presented by the World Tourism Organization and IPK International, which monitors travel trends.

The U.S. took the top spot, with 56 million visitors; Spain, at No. 2, attracted 51 million people. The third most popular country, Germany, counted 48 million visitors in 2011. 

The findings were sponsored by ITB Berlin and presented at the 20th World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, Italy.

Foreign travel to Europe was estimated to grow by 2% in 2012.

Details of the studies will be presented by the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which will be published in early December at

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