Int’l tourist arrivals up 5% in 2013

touristInternational tourist arrivals grew by 5 percent to record 1.08 billion in 2013.

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013, despite global economic challenges.

For 2014, UNWTO forecasts 4 percent to 4.5 percent growth – again, above the long term projections.

Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (+6 percent), Africa (+6 percent) and Europe (+5 percent). According to a press statement issued by UNWTO, the leading sub-regions were South-East Asia (+10 percent), Central and Eastern Europe (+7 percent), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6 percent) and North Africa (+6 percent).

“2013 was an excellent year for international tourism,” UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said in the statement. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies.”

UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to increase by 4-4.5 percent in 2014, again above its long-term forecast of +3.8 percent per year between 2010 and 2020. The UNWTO Confidence Index, based on the feedback from over 300 experts worldwide, confirms this outlook with prospects for 2014 higher than in previous years.

“The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth,” added Rifai.

According to the statement, 2014 regional prospects are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (+5 percent to +6 percent) and Africa (+4 percent to +6 percent), followed by Europe and the Americas (both +3 percent to +4 percent).

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