Sub-region saw 7% more international arrivals in 2014
International tourist arrivals staying in their destinations for at least one night reached 1.138 billion in 2014, a 4.7% increase over the previous year, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. The figure is 51 million more than in 2013.
International tourism will grow by 3% to 4% for 2015, the UNWTO forecasts, further contributing to the global economic recovery.
By region, the Americas (+7%) and Asia and the Pacific (+5%) registered the strongest growth, while Europe (+4%), the Middle East (+4%) and Africa (+2%) grew at a more modest pace.
However, by sub-region, Northern Europe saw one of the best results, increasing by 7%, beaten only by North America (+8%). Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North-East Asia, South Asia and the Caribbean all also rose 7%.
Europe is the world’s most visited region with over half of the world’s international tourists. It saw an increase of 22 million arrivals in 2014, reaching a total of 588 million.
“Over the past years, tourism has proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity and a fundamental contributor to the economic recovery by generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of jobs,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, opening the Spain Global Tourism Forum in Madrid.
“This has been true for destinations all around the world, but particularly for Europe, as the region struggles to consolidate its way out of one of the worst economic periods in its history.”
For 2015, the UNWTO forecasts stronger growth in Asia and the Pacific and the Americas (both 4% to 5%), followed by Europe (3% to 4%). Arrivals are expected to increase by 3% to 5% in Africa and 2% to 5% in the Middle East.
[pictured: Paddan sightseeing boat passing Grand Theatre, Gothenburg; photo by Göran Assner/ imagebank.sweden.se]