International tourism receipts in destinations around the world grew by 3.6 per cent in 2015, in line with the 4.4 per cent increase in international arrivals, according to the latest figures from the UNWTO.
For the fourth consecutive year, international tourism grew faster than world merchandise trade, raising tourism’s share in world’s exports to seven per cent in 2015.
The total export value from international tourism amounted to US$1.4 trillion.
Income generated by international visitors on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping and other services and goods reached an estimated US$1,232 billion in 2015, an increase of 3.6 per cent accounting for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation.
International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 4.4 per cent in 2015, reaching a total of 1,184 million.
Alongside international tourism receipts (the travel item of the balance of payments), international tourism generated US$210 billion in exports through international non-resident passenger transport services, bringing the total value of tourism exports up to US$1.4 trillion, or US$4 billion a day on average.
“Tourism is today a major category of international trade in services,” said UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai addressing the 60th Regional Commission for the Americas meeting in Havana, Cuba.
“Despite a weak and slow economic recovery, spending on international tourism grew significantly in 2015, proving the sector’s relevance in stimulating economic growth, boosting exports and creating jobs for an increasing number of economies worldwide,” he added.
International tourism represents seven per cent of total world exports and 30 per cent of services exports.
The share of tourism in overall exports of goods and services increased from six to seven per cent in 2015 as for the fourth consecutive year international tourism outgrew world merchandise trade, which grew 2.8 per cent in 2015 according to recent data reported by the World Trade Organisation.
As a worldwide export category, tourism ranks third after fuels and chemicals and ahead of food and automotive products. In many developing countries, tourism ranks as the first export sector.