Demand for international tourism remained strong in the first four months of 2014, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 5%, the same rate as during the full year 2013. Prospects for the current peak tourism season remain very positive with over 460 million tourists expected to travel abroad in the May-August 2014 period.
Destinations worldwide received some 317 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2014, 14 million more than in the same period of 2013. This 5% growth consolidates the already strong increase registered in 2013 (+5%) and is well above the long-term trend projected by UNWTO for the period 2010-2020 (+3.8%).
Growth has been widely spread with nearly all subregions recording increases in international arrivals of 4% or higher. By region, the strongest growth was registered in Asia and the Pacific and the Americas (both +6%), followed closely by Europe and Africa (both at +5%). By subregion, Northern Europe, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North Africa and South Asia, (all +8%) were the star performers.
“The encouraging start to 2014 and the overall positive sentiment in the sector raise high expectations for the current peak tourism season, benefiting destinations from both advanced and emerging economies,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The 5% growth in the number of international tourists crossing borders in the first months of 2014 further reflects the impact of the increase in public support to the sector as well as the immense capacity of tourism companies to adapt to changing markets.”