According to the barometer, almost all regions enjoyed strong growth and prospects for the May-August period remain upbeat, with close to 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad during these four months.
Destinations worldwide received some 332 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2015, 16 million more than the same period last year, corresponding to an increase of 4%. This result follows an increase of 4.3% in 2014.
By region, the Americas (+6%) led growth, followed by Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, all recording 4% to 5% more arrivals.
Europe, the world’s most visited region, enjoyed continued strength with international tourist arrivals growing by 5% through April. Arrivals in Central and Eastern Europe increased by 7%, rebounding on the poor results of 2014 following the conflict in Ukraine and the slowdown of the Russian economy. Southern Mediterranean Europe (+5%) maintained strong growth, though for many destinations these are low season months. Western Europe and Northern Europe both enjoyed a solid 4% increase in arrivals, partly due to good results in traditional winter sports destinations.
According to the latest results of the UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index, prospects for this period continue to be bullish and are the highest for this period since the pre-crisis year 2007. The sentiment is positive among all regions and areas of activity.
Business intelligence tool ForwardKeys also shows healthy growth in international air travel reservations for May-August 2015. Overall bookings are up 5% thanks to strong demand for domestic air travel (+7%) and continued growth in international travel (+4%). By region, air reservations increased most in Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and Europe, while reservations to and from Africa and the Middle East are weaker.
According to the forecast issued by UNWTO in January this year, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 3% to 4% for the full year 2015, in line with UNWTO’s long-term forecast of 3.8% a year for the period 2010 to 2020.