Destinations worldwide welcomed 598 million international tourists in the first six months of 2017, some 36 million more than in the same period of 2016.
At six per cent, growth was well above the trend of recent years, making the current January-June period the strongest half-year since 2010, according to the UNWTO.
Visitor numbers reported by destinations around the world reflect strong demand for international travel in the first half of 2017, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Results are underpinned by robust growth in many destinations and a continuation of the recovery in those that suffered declines in previous years.
Of UNWTO regions, growth was strongest in the Middle East (up nine per cent), Europe (up eight per cent) and Africa (up eight per cent), followed by Asia and the Pacific (up six per cent) and the Americas (up three per cent).
The first half of the year usually accounts for about 46 per cent of total annual international arrivals, with the second half longer by three days and including the Northern Hemisphere high season months of July and August.
“The first half of 2017 shows healthy growth in an increasingly dynamic and resilient tourism market, including a strong recovery in some of the destinations impacted by security challenges last year,” said UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai.