With over 1.1 billion international tourists travelling the world in one single year, international tourism is on track to end 2014 with record numbers. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, during the first ten months of 2014, the number of international tourists grew by 5%, rising above expectations.
The number of global tourists reached 978 million, 45 million more than in the same period of 2013 between January and October 2014. 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.
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%).
Arrival in Asia and the Pacific is increased by 5% (through October). The best results came from South Asia (+8%), led by India (+7%), and from North-East Asia (+7%). Arrivals in Oceania grew by 6% owing mostly to the increase of arrivals in Australia and New Zealand. In South-East Asia (+2%), growth slowed down compared to 2012 and 2013 as a result of the decline in arrivals registered in Thailand.
Europe posted a 4% increase in global tourist arrivals through October, with strong results in Northern Europe and in Southern Mediterranean Europe (both +7%). International tourism grew at a more modest pace in Western Europe (+2%) and was stagnant in Central and Eastern Europe (0%), in stark contrast with the last three years, during which arrivals grew at an average of 8% a year.
In the Middle East global tourist arrivals are estimated to be up by 4% (in the first ten months of 2014), recovering the declines registered sinc 2011.
In Africa international tourist numbers grew by 3% (through October) with North Africa consolidating its recovery (+2%). Subsaharan Africa’s arrivals were up by 3% despite the challenges of the Ebola Disease Outbreak in a few West African countries.