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Strong summer boosts global tourism

November 3, 2014

Published on Nov 3, 2014

Global arrivals reach 781 million in first eight months of 2014, according to UNWTO data

The global tourism industry remains on track for another record-breaking year, following a rise in international visitor numbers during the key summer months.

The three northern hemisphere summer months – June, July and August – account for approximately a third of annual tourist arrivals. And this year the world saw a 4% increase in cross-border travel during the summer period, compared to 2013.

Travel Daily AsiaThis helped drive global tourism numbers up to 781 million in the first eight months of 2014, 36m or 5% more than the same period last year.

But UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai noted that tourism is growing in spite of several potential setbacks.

"International tourism continues to grow above expectations despite rising global challenges," said Rifai. "Yet, increasing geopolitical uncertainties and the fact that the global economy shows signs of weaker and uneven growth require our attention."

Commenting on the possible impact of the Ebola outbreak on global tourism, Rifai said that while it is "too premature to assess the full impact of the outbreak on the tourism sector", the UNWTO does "not expect a major effect" on the industry.

By region, the Americas (+8%) saw the strongest growth in terms of international visitor arrivals in the first eight months of the year, followed by Asia Pacific (+5%) and Europe (+4%). By sub-region, North America (+9%) and South Asia (+8%) were the star performers, as well as Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe, Northeast Asia and South America (all +7%).

Southeast Asia's arrivals growth slowed to just +2%, while Africa and the Middle East both experienced 3% growth, despite their problems.

China has reinforced its position as leading visitor source market in 2014. The UNWTO found that outbound travel growth among the world’s top 10 source markets was highest in China (+16%), France (+10%), Italy (+8%), the US (+6%), Brazil (+5%) and Russia (+4%). India also showed remarkable growth, with a 31% rise in outbound numbers.

For the full year 2014, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 4% to 4.5%, compared to last year's record total of 1.09bn.

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