According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the number of international tourists grew by five percent during the first 10 months of 2014, rising above expectations.
Between January and October 2014, the volume of international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 978 million, 45 million more than in the same period of 2013.
“With an increase of 4.7 percent, international tourism continues to grow well above the long-term trend projected by UNWTO for the period 2010-2020 (+3.8 percent), and is set to end the year at over 1.1 billion,” the UNWTO said in an announcement.
By region, the strongest growth was registered in the Americas (+8 percent), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+5 percent) and Europe (+4 percent). By subregion, North America (+9 percent) and South Asia (+8 percent) were the star performers, as well as Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North-East Asia and Northern Europe (all +7 percent).
Greece recorded robust growth
Specifically for Europe, the most visited region in the world, international tourist arrivals increased by four percent through October, with strong results in Northern Europe and in Southern Mediterranean Europe (both +7 percent), where established destinations such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Malta recorded robust growth. International tourism grew at a more modest pace in Western Europe (+2%) and was stagnant in Central and Eastern Europe (0%).
Commenting on the UNWTO data, the secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said that political commitment to the tourism sector was growing in many countries.
“This is encouraging, not in the least because tourism is one of the sectors that is best able to deliver on employment at a moment when job creation need to be a priority to all,” he said.
UNWTO will release preliminary 2014 full year results for international tourist arrivals by 27 January 2015.