International tourism will hit a new record by the end of 2014 with over 1.1 billion international tourists travelling the world in a single year. During the first ten months of 2014, the number of international tourists grew by 5 percent according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Between January and October 2014, the volume of international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 978 million, 45 million more than in the same period of 2013. With an increase of 4.7 percent, international tourism continues to grow well above the long-term trend projected by UNWTO for the period 2010-2020 (+3.8 percent), and is set to end the year at over 1.1 billion.
“In view of this trend, international tourism is set to end 2014 with record numbers,” said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai in a statement.
“These are remarkable results considering that different parts of the world continue to face significant geopolitical and health challenges, while the global economic recovery remains rather fragile and uneven,” he said.
“More importantly, we see a growing political commitment to the tourism sector in many countries. This is encouraging, not in the least because tourism is one of the sectors that is best able to deliver on employment at a moment when job creation need to be a priority to all”, he added.
By region, the strongest growth was registered in the Americas (+8 percent), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+5 percent) and Europe (+4 percent).
By subregion, North America (+9 percent) and South Asia (+8 percent) were the star performers, as well as Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North-East Asia and Northern Europe (all +7 percent).
International arrivals in Asia and the Pacific increased by 5 percent (through October), consolidating the region’s growth trend of recent years.
The best results came from South Asia (+8 percent), led by India (+7 percent), and from North-East Asia (+7 percent) where major destinations such as Japan and the Republic of Korea registered double-digit growth. Arrivals in Oceania grew by 6 percent owing mostly to the increase of arrivals in Australia and New Zealand.
In South-East Asia (+2 percent), growth slowed down compared to 2012 and 2013 as a result of the decline in arrivals registered in Thailand.