International tourism up 4.3% in first eight months of the year

International tourism up 4.3% in first eight months of the year

MADRID — International tourist arrivals grew by 4.3% in the first eight months of 2015 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, fuelled by strong results in Europe and consolidating the trend of recent years.

International tourists (overnight visitors) travelling the world between January and August 2015 reached 810 million, 33 million more than in the same period of 2014.

Europe, the world’s most visited regional destination, recorded a robust 5% increase in international tourist arrivals, the highest across all regions and a notable result for a rather mature region. Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East all enjoyed 4% growth, while limited data available for Africa points to an estimated 5% decrease in the number of international tourists.

“Sustained growth in international tourism is very positive news for all as the sector increasingly contributes to creating jobs, promoting trade and investment, developing infrastructure and fostering inclusive economic growth. This is particularly true in recent years, when tourism has been instrumental in supporting the economic recovery of many countries and in generating new jobs,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“Yet, we should not be complacent. We need to continue advancing fundamental issues such as travel facilitation and connectivity while placing sustainability at the core of our action. As world leaders prepare to meet in Paris next December for the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) and following the approval of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, sustainability must be at the forefront of the tourism agenda,” he added.