According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism
Barometer, international tourist arrivals reached 1,138 million in
2014, a 4.7% increase over the previous year.
For 2015, UNWTO
forecasts international tourism to grow by 3% to 4%, further
contributing to the global economic recovery.
The number of
international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 1,138 million
in 2014, 51 million more than in 2013.
With an increase of 4.7%,
this is the fifth consecutive year of above average growth since
the 2009 economic crisis.
“Over the past years, tourism has
proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity
and a fundamental contributor to the economic recovery by
generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of
jobs. This has been true for destinations all around the world,
but particularly for Europe, as the region struggles to
consolidate its way out of one of the worst economic periods in
its history,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
By region, the
Americas (+7%) and Asia and the Pacific (+5%) registered the
strongest growth, while Europe (+4%), the Middle East (+4%) and
Africa (+2%) grew at a slightly more modest pace. By subregion,
North America (+8%) saw the best results, followed by North-East
Asia, South Asia, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, Northern
Europe and the Caribbean, all increasing by 7%.
recent years, the growth in international tourism receipts in 2014
is expected to have followed that of arrivals fairly close (the 2014 results for international tourism receipts will be released
in April 2015). In 2013, international tourism receipts reached
US$ 1,187 billion, US$ 230 billion more than in the pre-crisis
year of 2008.
Positive Outlook for 2015
UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to grow between 3%
and 4%. By region, growth is expected to be stronger in Asia and
the Pacific (+4% to +5%) and the Americas (+4% to +5%), followed
by Europe (+3% to +4%). Arrivals are expected to increase by +3%
to +5% in Africa and by +2% to +5% in the Middle East.
expect demand to continue growing in 2015 as the global economic
situation improves even though there are still plenty of challenges ahead. On the positive side, oil prices have declined
to a level not seen since 2009. This will lower transport costs
and boost economic growth by lifting purchasing power and private
demand in oil importing economies. Yet, it could also negatively impact some of the oil exporting countries which have emerged as
strong tourism source markets,” added Mr Rifai.
positive outlook for 2015 is confirmed by the UNWTO Confidence
Index. According to the 300 tourism experts consulted worldwide
for the Index, tourism performance is expected to improve in 2015,
though expectations are less upbeat than a year ago.
Consolidates Position as Most Visited Region
Europe (+4%), the most visited region with over half of the
world’s international tourists, saw an increase of 22 million
arrivals in 2014, reaching a total of 588 million. Thanks to these
results, tourism has been a major contributor to the European
economic recovery. Northern Europe and Southern and Mediterranean
Europe led growth (both +7%), while results were more modest in Western Europe (+2%). Arrivals in Central and Eastern Europe (0%)
stagnated after three years of strong growth.
tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific (+5%) increased by 13
million to 263 million. The best performance was recorded in
North-East Asia and South Asia (both +7%). Arrivals in Oceania
grew by 6%, while growth slowed down in South-East Asia (+2%) as compared to previous years.
The Americas was the best
performing region in relative terms with growth of 7%, welcoming
an additional 13 million international tourists and raising the
total to 181 million. Growth was driven by North America (+8%),
where Mexico posted a double-digit increase, and the Caribbean
(+7%). Arrivals to Central America and South America (both +6%)
grew at double the rate recorded in 2013 and well above the world
International tourism in the Middle East (+4%)
shows signs of rebound with good results in most destinations. The
region attracted an additional 2 million arrivals, bringing the
total to 50 million. Africa’s international tourist numbers grew
by an estimated 2%, equivalent to an increase of one million
arrivals. The region reached 56 million tourists. While arrivals
to North Africa were weak (+1%), Sub-Saharan Africa saw
international tourist numbers rise by 3% despite the Ebola Virus
Disease outbreak in a few West African countries. Data for Africa
and the Middle East should be read with caution as it is based on
limited and volatile data.
Demand from Traditional
Source Markets Picks Up
A pickup in expenditure on international
tourism from traditional source markets compensated for the
slowdown of the large emerging markets, which had been driving
tourism growth in previous years.
The total number of trips
abroad from China is estimated to have increased by 11 million to
109 million in 2014. Expenditure was up by 17% in the first three
quarters of 2014, a strong result but slower than in previous
years (40% in 2012 and 26% in 2013, respectively). China is the
world’s largest outbound market since 2012 with a total
expenditure of US$ 129 billion in 2013.
Among the other two
main emerging markets, the Russian Federation (-6%) clearly lost
strength in 2014, while Brazil still grew by 2%, despite the
appreciation of the US dollar against the Brazilian real and
slower economic growth. Beyond the top ten, some smaller emerging
markets saw expenditure grow substantially, with Saudi Arabia,
India, the Philippines and Qatar all reporting increases of 30% or
A pickup in demand from traditional source markets
compensated for the slowdown of the large emerging markets.
Expenditure from the United States, the second largest outbound
market in the world, grew by 6%. Noteworthy is also the rebound of
France (+11%), Italy (+6%) and the United Kingdom (+4%).
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