Tourism has become the second-fastest-growing sector in the world, and just last year, 1.45 billion people traveled to an international destination. It’s estimated that 2 billion people will travel in 2020, but where do many of these people go to and what makes it so interesting?

Although the world is full of unique destinations, travelers tend to gravitate towards the most popular cities. In 2019, the top five were Bangkok, Paris, London, Dubai and Singapore. But did you know the most-visited tourist attractions are not in these cities (Paris being the exception)? And if you have explored the most popular sites, how many secrets did you uncover about each one? From Africa to the US and Asia to Australia, here are some interesting facts about the most touristy sites you may not have known before.

#1: Great Pyramid of Giza

Secrets of the Pyramids of Giza

(Image source: Leonardo Ramos / Unsplash)

• The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is number one on the list of the world’s most-visited sites, which receives around 14.7 million tourists a year.
• Aside from being the only remaining wonder of the ancient world, it did survive a colossal earthquake in 1303 yet the limestones that unattached in the aftermath were then taken to Cairo to construct mosques.
• The Great Pyramid was built to hold out against the Great Flood, and when the white limestone was stripped away, watermarks were noticeable about 240 feet up.
• In the past few years, archaeologists discovered a new empty space in the Pyramid, yet do not know what the purpose of it was.
• Tomb raiders have taken many of the Pharaoh’s belongings, but an artifact—a ship for the afterlife—was recently discovered.
• The Great Pyramid “concentrates electromagnetic energy through its chambers to create larger pockets of energy at its base”.

#2: Golden Gate Bridge

Secrets of the Golden Gate Bridge

(Image source: Oliver Plattner / Unsplash)

• On average, more than 10 million tourists visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, in a year.
• The Bridge is not red, it”s “International Orange”. The reason it was colored this orangy-red is due to the metal changing color from the water. “International Orange” was the answer to keep the bridge looking fresh like it does to this day.
• When it was first proposed, there were 2,300 lawsuits against the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
• The Bridge is not repainted entirely every year. Rather, engineers look at every inch of the bridge every two years to see what parts need a fresh coat of paint.
• The cables were created by the same business that developed the cables on the Brooklin Bridge.
• For decades, it was the longest suspended bridge in the world until the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan was completed in 1998.

#3: Great Wall of China

Secrets of the Great Wall of China

(Image source: Hanson Lu / Unsplash)

• The Great Wall of China welcomes an average of 9.9 million tourists a year.
• If you were a convicted criminal from 221 to 206 BC, your punishment was to join the forces to build the Great Wall.
• A third of the wall is gone and continues to diminish every year.
• The oldest surviving Chinese poetry predicted the construction of the Great Wall before it even began construction.
• In the 60s and 70s, bricks taken from the Great Wall were recycled and used to develop homes.
• The original Wall was constructed using nearby soil and stone. It wasn’t until the last phase that bricks were used.

#4: Louvre Museum

Secrets of the Louvre Museum

(Image source: Bharat Patil / Unsplash)

• The Louver is another one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the world, with over 9.6 million tourists a year.
• When the glass pyramid was uncovered, there was a lot of backlash and criticisms, saying that it disrupted the historical architecture of the palace.
• The Sully wing offers a glimpse of the moat once surrounding the palace hundreds of years ago.
• Leonardo Davinci’s initials are painted in Mona Lisa’s right eye, but they can only be seen with a microscope.
• The glass used for the Pyramid was specially created in order to be able to see through it without any distortion. Usually, glass has some type of light tint to it—either green or blue—but the glass on the Louvre Pyramid is completely clear.
• There’s now a Da Vinci Code tour that will take you through the facts and fictions uncovered in the world-renowned film.

#5: Sydney Opera House

Secrets of the Sydney Opera House

(Image source: Arvin Wiyono / Unsplash)

• An average of 8.2 million tourists visits The Sydney Opera House every year.
• The tiles on the roof are self-cleaning, are two shades of light brown color and there are no gutters. When it rains, water falls in between the gaps on the roof and go right into the Harbour.
• The largest mechanical organ in the world with 10,154 pipes resides inside the Sydney Opera House.
• You can fit seven A380s, with one wing touching another in the area that the Opera House sits.
• Water is taken from the ocean to cool down the Sydney Opera House, while also powering the air conditioning and the heating via pipes.

(Notre Dame in Paris, France would have been number two on our list with over 13 million tourists a year, but due to last-years devastating damages, we did not include it in our list for 2020. Notre Dame will not reopen until 2024.)

If these or any other destinations speak to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and save you up to 70% off. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!