The number of international tourists rose by 4% worldwide to 1.2 billion last year as Asians travelled more, but security fears hit visitor arrivals in Europe, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) said.
The number of people living in Asia and discovering both their own region and the rest of the world rose 8% compared to 2015, the Madrid-based body said.
The Asia-Pacific area, meanwhile, proved a popular destination – the second most visited region after Europe.
But the UN body cautioned that while Europe was still blessed with 620 million tourists last year, the growth in the number of visitors had slowed due to security concerns.
WTO chief Taleb Rifai told reporters the results in Europe varied widely from one country to the next. He refused to give a much-anticipated ranking of the most visited countries, saying this would be unveiled later.
In 2015, France ranked number one, followed by the United States and Spain.