MADRID: International tourist arrivals rose by 4.7 percent to 1.14 billion in 2014, with the Americas and Asia posting the strongest growth, but will rise at a slower pace this year, a UN body said Tuesday.
“Over the past years, tourism has proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity,” the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization’s secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said in a statement.
The UN body had forecast tourist arrivals to rise by 4.0-4.5 percent in 2014.
It sees international tourists arrivals growing 3.0-4.0 percent this year as falling oil prices have a mixed impact on the sector.
International tourism arrivals rose at the fastest rate in the Americas, where numbers grew by 7.0 to 181 million with Mexico posting double-digit growth of 19 percent from January to November, a spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
The Asia-Pacific region saw the number of foreign overnight visitors rise by 5.0 percent to 263 million.
Europe remained the most visited region with 588 million arrivals, more than half of the global total and a 4.0 percent rise over the previous year.
“International tourism in the Middle East shows signs of rebound with good results in most destinations,” the UN body said.
The region attracted 50 million international tourists, a 4.0 percent rise over 2013.
Tourists spent $1.187 trillion on travel abroad in 2013, the last year for which figures are available.