International tourism is set to hit a new record by the end of 2014 with over 1.1 billion international tourists travelling the world in one single year.
During the first 10 months of 2014, the number of international tourists grew by 5% according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, rising above expectations.
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%, international tourism continues to grow well above the long-term trend projected by UNWTO for the period 2010-2020 (+3.8%), and is set to end the year at over 1.1 billion.
By region, the strongest growth was registered in the Americas (+8%), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+5%) and Europe (+4%). By subregion, North America (+9%) and South Asia (+8%) were the star performers, as well as Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North-East Asia and Northern Europe (all +7%).
“In view of this trend, international tourism is set to end 2014 with record numbers”, said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai. “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 added, “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.”
The Americas (+8%) led growth during the first 10 months of 2014, rebounding significantly on last year’s subdued results. This is the region’s best performance since 2004, when international tourism also rebounded strongly, following the 2003 SARS outbreak. All subregions – North America, the Caribbean, Central America and South America – doubled the growth rates of 2013, with particularly positive results in North America in view of the extraordinary performance of Mexico and the United States.