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Worldwide travel for recreational, leisure, or business purposes is on the increase. It is an important economic factor.

In 2015 European nations occupied three of the world's top five places in destinations.Germany has the largest outbound tourist trade in the world, with Germans spending about €80 billion (89 billion $) annually to travel abroad (the United States is second), in spite of Germany being fourth in world in GDP and fourteenth in population. Germany also has the eighth largest inbound tourist trade, with receipts of around €24 billion.

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