According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism
Barometer, demand for international tourism remained strong in Q1
2014, with international tourist arrivals worldwide growing by 5%,
the same rate as during the full year 2013.
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.”
Asia and the Pacific (+6%) consolidated its
growth of recent years, with South Asia (+8%) and North-East Asia
(+7%) in the lead.
Growth picked up in the Americas (+6%), with all
four subregions showing significant improvement compared to 2013.
Europe, the most visited region in the world,
maintained the strength it showed in 2013 with international
tourist arrivals growing by 5% through April. Northern Europe and
Southern Mediterranean Europe (+8% each) led growth.
Africa’s international tourist numbers grew by
5% as the recovery was consolidated further in North Africa (+8%).
International tourist arrivals in the Middle
East are estimated to be down by 4%, though this figure should be
taken with caution as it is based on limited available data for
With regard to source markets, international
tourism expenditure data for the first part of 2014 indicates that
the growth in demand continues to be strong out of emerging
markets, in particular from China, the Russian Federation, Saudi
Arabia and India. Moreover, demand from advanced markets is
strengthening as the economic situation improves gradually, with
encouraging growth registered in expenditure from Italy,
Australia, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Norway and
Various indicators point to a strong Northern
Hemisphere’s summer peak season. Over 460 million tourists are
expected to travel abroad during the four months from May to
August, which account on average for 41% of all international
tourist arrivals registered in one year.
According to the UNWTO Confidence Index,
prospects remain very positive for the period May-August 2014.
Confidence has picked up, particularly among the private sector,
and improved further in Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific
and the Middle East.
Data on international air travel reservations
from business intelligence tool ForwardKeys support this outlook
with bookings for May-August up by 8% compared to the same period
last year, with intraregional and interregional travel equally
strong. The highest growth in bookings was recorded in
international flight reservations from Asian source markets,
followed by the Americas (+8%).
For the full year 2014, international tourist
arrivals are expected to increase by 4% to 4.5%, slightly above
UNWTO’s long-term forecast of 3.8% per year for the period 2010 to
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