In the first nine months of 2013, international tourism grew by five per cent according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
The number of international tourist arrivals reported by destinations around the world increased by some 41 million between January and September, growing above UNWTO’s initial forecast and creating an important stimulus to the receiving economies.
International tourist arrivals grew by five per cent in the first nine months of the year, to reach a record 845 million worldwide, an estimated 41 million more than in the same period of 2012.
Growth was driven by Europe and Asia and the Pacific, both seeing tourist numbers increase by 6 per cent.
“International tourism continues to grow above expectations, supporting economic growth in both advanced and emerging economies and bringing much needed support to job creation, GDP and the balance of payments of many destinations,” said UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai.
“It is particularly encouraging to see the strong results in many European destinations, where the tourism sector is, undoubtedly, one of the engines of the economic recovery”.
Europe beats expectations
In Europe, the world’s most visited region, international tourist arrivals grew by six per cent led by above-average results in Central and Eastern Europe (up seven per cent) and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (up six per cent).
This growth exceeds the initial forecast for 2013 and is double the average growth rate of international tourism in Europe since 2000 (up 2.7 per cent a year between 2000 and 2012).
Asia and the Pacific (up six per cent) continued to show robust results, bolstered by South-East Asia (up 12 per cent).
The Americas (up three per cent) reported comparatively weaker results, with better performance in North America (up four per cent) and Central America and (up three per cent).
In Africa (up five per cent) growth was fuelled by the recovery in North Africa (up six per cent), while the Middle East saw only a marginal increase (up 0.3 per cent).
The positive trend registered in international tourist arrivals is reflected in international tourism receipts reported by destinations worldwide for the first six to ten months of the year.