In its latest World Tourism Barometer, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that international tourist arrivals grew by 4.6% in the first half of 2014. Destinations worldwide received some 517 million international tourists between January and June 2014, 22 million more than in the same period of 2013.
Growth was strongest in the Americas (up 6%), followed by Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both up by 5%). By sub-region, South Asia and Northern Europe (up by 8%) were the best performers, together with North-East Asia and Southern Mediterranean Europe (up by 7%).
UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai observed: “These results show that tourism is consolidating the positive performance of recent years, providing development and economic opportunities worldwide.”
He continued: “Indeed, despite geopolitical and economic challenges, the number of international tourist arrivals has grown by 5% a year on average since 2010, a trend that has translated into more economic growth, more exports and more jobs.”
So far, results are in line with the UNWTO forecast issued at the beginning of 2014. For the full year 2014, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 4% to 4.5% worldwide, above UNWTO’s long-term forecast of 3.8% per year for the period 2010 to 2020.