International tourist arrivals to the European Union increased by four per cent in 2016, reaching almost 500 million - 40 per cent the world’s total.
This preliminary result is included in the first release of the ‘European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends’, a regular monitoring of EU tourism by the World Tourism Organisation.
Despite many challenges facing Europe in 2016, tourism has once again shown extraordinary strength and resilience, reinforcing its contribution to economic growth, job creation and social wellbeing in the European Union.
The 28 countries of the EU boasted a solid growth in international tourist arrivals of above four per cent in 2016, exceeding the world’s average growth rate, and increasing by 21 million to 499 million.
Last year was the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth for the EU-28 following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis, with 107 million more tourists than the pre-crisis level of 2008.
“Tourism is today one of the key pillars of the EU strategy for jobs and inclusive growth.
“UNWTO is very pleased to be working alongside the European Commission in monitoring international tourism trends, advance product development and sustainable tourism in Europe,” said UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai.