UNWTO World Tourism Barometer reveals 4% increase in worldwide tourist arrivals

TouristArrivalsAccording to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer figures, tourist arrivals increased by 4% between the months January to April 2015. Statistics reveal that all regions enjoyed a strong and steady growth during the four months.

“It is encouraging to see the tourism sector consolidating its excellent results despite security concerns and unrest in many parts of our world,” Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General stated. “This underscores that tourism is a surprisingly resilient economic sector which increasingly contributes to development in many countries around the globe. For national governments, it is a reminder that tourism can be part of the solution to foster socio-economic development and job creation,” he said.

Destinations worldwide received 14 million more than the same period last year – between January and April – an estimated 332 million international tourists (overnight visitors).

All four sub-regions in the Americas continued to hold the momentum in growth between January-April 2015, with South America leading the way by 8%, and the Caribbean by 7%. An estimated 20 million American tourists travelled abroad throughout April – that is 7% more than during the same period last year.

The world’s most visited region – Europe – continued to grow with international tourist arrivals rising by 5% throughout April. In Asia and the Pacific region, arrivals to South-East Asia increased by 3%. Tourist arrival shot up by 4% in the same  months in the Middle East, continuing the region’s recovery that started in 2014 after three consecutive years of declines.

Africa however suffered a substantial decline in international tourist numbers. “The Ebola crisis in West Africa and the security concerns are serious challenges for Africa’s tourism and for the international community as a whole,” Mr. Rifai said. “We must work together in managing and overcoming these challenges and in supporting destinations for a prompt recovery. It is important to remember that tourism is the lifeline of many communities around the world and that we face today a global threat that affects all our societies.”

Despite the challenges, statistics reveal that forecasts for the May/August period of this year remain positive with an estimated 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad during the four months.