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WHS with the largest number of visitors

Author elsslots
#1 | Posted: 12 Jan 2009 03:49 | Edited by: elsslots 
I plan on adding a connection about which WHS have the largest number of visitors annually (excluding those without entry regulations, eg. cities).

This takes some research, so let's start with a few I know of:
- Petra (Jordan) - 800,000 in 2008 (source)
- Taj Mahal - 2,500,000 in 2006 (sourc)
- Angkor - 2,000,000 (source)
- Great Smokey Mountains - 9,000,000 in 2006 (source)
- And from the same source:
Grand Canyon with 4.4 million visits,
Yosemite with 3.3 million,
Olympic with 3.1 million,
Yellowstone at 2.8 million visits

Who has more?

Author Assif
#2 | Posted: 12 Jan 2009 05:11 
Schoenbrunn: 2.6 million in 2008 ( cn/news-20090109-02023186)
Versailles: 10 million (
Auschwitz: 1 million in 2006 (
Musei Vaticani: 3.5 million ( _01062410083.shtml)
Museumsinsel: 1 million in 2007 (;art1047,2441703)
Loire Valley: 3 million ( voyage_chateaux_de_la_loire.html)
Masada: 740000 in 1996 (
Pompeii: 2.4 million in 2007 ( 0)
Tower of London: 2.5 million ( 2.htm)
Saint Michel: 2.25 million in 2006 (
Palais des Papes Avingnon: 650000 ( des-papes-news-_5.html)
Jungfraujoch: 600000 in 2008 ( 61-448)
Louvre: 8.3 million in 2006 ( 335&CURRENT_LLV_FICHE%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198674108335&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=98527236965 00892)
Jewish Museum - Prague: 500000 (
Kew Gardens: 1.5 million in 2006 (,_Kew)

As to sites like Machu Pichu and the Forbiddeb City - I don't know if they regularly monitor visitors' entry or just publish estimates as to their number.

Author Assif
#3 | Posted: 12 Jan 2009 05:13 
Perhaps we should rename this connection to sites with more than 500000 recorded visitors a year?

Author Assif
#4 | Posted: 12 Jan 2009 05:32 
Ok - both do charge tickets.

Forbidden City: 7 million (
Ermitage: 3-4 million (

Last Supper and Machu Picchu are less than half a million. I couldn't find out about the Great Wall of China. Any further suggestions for sites with such numbers of visitors than can be counted with precision?
Perhaps some Pre-Columbian sites in Mexico? Some Africa safaris? Indonesia?

Author Assif
#5 | Posted: 12 Jan 2009 05:49 
Colosseum: 3.5 million (
Alhambra: 2 million (

Can't find out about the Kremlin and El Escorial. What about sites in Seoul and Japan?

Author Solivagant
#6 | Posted: 12 Jan 2009 12:33 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I find 10 million for Versailles a bit difficult to accept. The Versailles site itself states "Versailles drew visitors right from the days of Louis XIV. The museum now receives three million visitors per year, while the grounds attract an estimated six million."
I don't think these 2 figures can be added together!

Everglades is likely to be quite high

Author m_m
#7 | Posted: 12 Jan 2009 21:44 
i remember there's a publication on natural and mixed whs studies related to global strategy, and it does cite great smoky mountain for its large number of visitors, which contrasts to the strict nature reserves whs of some african countries. i can't remember though if there's a table there listing down the number of visitors per site.

Author elsslots
#8 | Posted: 13 Jan 2009 00:20 
Everglades: 1,074,764 in 2007

The Chinese sites see huge numbers too:
Mount Huangshan: 1.34 million in 2001 (probably even more now)
Mausoleum of Qin Emperor (terracotta army) recorded 2.6 million tourists in 2006
Forbidden City: six to eight million a year

Author Xeres
#9 | Posted: 13 Jan 2009 08:40 
5 million visit Quebec City every year

Author Assif
#10 | Posted: 13 Jan 2009 16:56 
Yes - but this is something difficult to assess with precision. I think we should confine ourselves to sites for which tickets are sold.

Author Solivagant
#11 | Posted: 16 Jan 2009 00:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I noticed that the Forbidden City is proposing to introduce a Web-based booking system as part of a plan to control visitors at a maximum of 50000 per day. Based on an 8 hour opening (currently 8.30 -4.30) that is still over 100 people PER MINUTE! Frightening. Yet the China Daily states "Daily visits to the Palace Museum and the Summer Palace have reached 100,000 per day, far exceeding their visiting capacity (50,000 to 70,000). "
I remember my first visit just 30 years ago in Jun 1978. We were the only foreigners around and there were almost no Chinese either - all presumably working hard in their communist brigades and blue Mao suits! The whole place was beautifully peaceful. I count myself lucky to have visited under those conditions.

But presumably that is the way things are going at many WHS. I think a daily figure is more "telling" as to what a visit is like than an annual one. But daily figures seem even less available than annual ones. I have however found the following for other sites
a. Alhambra - Summer limit 7700 ppd 8.30 -20.00
b. Tower of London - "At the Jewel House a new visitor managment system now allows some 20000 ppd (2700 per hour)" ..."The Tower itself reaches gridlock at 18000 ppd"
c. Angkor Wat (Phnom Bakheng) - 3225 per day in 2004

The list of WHS which are restricting the number of visitors per day will be quite large and growing I think. Some of course are for very restricted numbers at sites like the Bwindi gorillas. But can there be any pleasure in visiting major sites with 5000-50000 people (and up!!) per day?

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 WHS with the largest number of visitors

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