According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) tourism remained a strong industry worldwide as international arrivals grew by 5 percent in the first eight months of 2014 amid geopolitical challenges and lingering concerns over the recovery of the global economy.
Global tourists traveling from January to August 2014 reached 781 million—36 million more than that recorded in the same period of 2013, based on the latest UN agency’s World Tourism Barometer.
June, July and August – the three northern hemisphere summer months account for approximately a third of annual tourist arrivals. The global tourism industry remains on track for another record-breaking year, following a rise in international visitor numbers during these key summer months. And this year the world saw a 4% increase in cross-border travel during the summer period, compared to 2013.
Tourist influx rose at the fastest rate in the Americas, where numbers were up by 8% in the first eight months of the year, followed by Asia Pacific (+5%) and Europe (+4%). By sub-region, North America (+9%) and South Asia (+8%) were the star performers, as well as Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe, Northeast Asia and South America (all +7%).
Southeast Asia’s arrivals growth slowed to just +2%, while Africa and the Middle East both experienced 3% growth, despite their problems. China has reinforced its position as leading visitor source market at 16 percent in 2014.
Among the world’s top 10 source markets outbound travel growth was highest in China (+16%), France (+10%), Italy (+8%), the US (+6%), Brazil (+5%) and Russia (+4%). India also showed remarkable growth, with a 31% rise in outbound numbers the UNWTO stated.
For the full year 2014, global tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 4% to 4.5%, compared to last year’s record total of 1.09bn. The Philippines, on its part, expects tourist arrivals to reach 6 million this year and 10 million by 2016.