The total number of global tourist arrivals increased 4.3% in the first eight months of 2015, according to the latest data from the UNWTO.
In its World Tourism Barometer, the UNWTO revealed that a total of 810 million people travelled internationally between January and August 2015, 33m more than the same period of 2014.
The growth was driven by strong growth in Europe, which saw a 5% increase in international tourist arrivals, while Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East all experienced 4% growth.
“Sustained growth in international tourism is very positive news for all as the sector increasingly contributes to creating jobs, promoting trade and investment, developing infrastructure and fostering inclusive economic growth. This is particularly true in recent years, when tourism has been instrumental in supporting the economic recovery of many countries and in generating new jobs” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.
A busy summer season contributed to strong growth in Europe in January-August 2015. Central & Eastern Europe saw a 7% rise in arrivals, rebounding from last year’s decline, followed by Northern Europe (+6%), Southern & Mediterranean Europe (+5%) and Western Europe (+4%).
Asia Pacific’s overall 4% growth was led by a 7% rise in Oceania. Southeast Asia (+6%), South Asia (4%) and
Northeast Asia (3%) also increased, with Japan experiencing “extraordinary growth” according to the UNWTO.
In the Americas (+4%), the Caribbean and Central America (both +7%) saw the strongest growth, followed by South America (+4%) and North America (+3%), while limited data for Africa points to a 5% decline in arrivals. Tourist arrivals in the Middle East grew by an estimated 4%.
Among the world’s top source markets, China continues to report double-digit growth in outbound travel, which benefits Japan, Thailand, the US and various European destinations. Among the other emerging markets, India, South Africa and Egypt reported double-digit growth in tourism expenditure, but spending from Russia and Brazil declined significantly.
Outbound expenditure from the US (+9%), UK (+5%) and Germany (+3%) increased, but demand was weaker from France, Canada and Australia.