Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Worldwide vacationer arrivals up four% attain a file 1.2 billion in 2015

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals rose by 4.4% in 2015 to a total of 1,184 million in 2015. Compared to 2014, around 50 million more tourists (overnight guests) traveled to international destinations around the world in the past year.

2015 is the sixth year in a row with above-average growth. Since the year after the 2010 crisis, international arrivals have increased by 4% or more each year.

“In 2015, international tourism reached new heights. The sector’s robust performance is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. Therefore, it is vital for countries to promote measures that encourage the further growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resource development and sustainability, ”said UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai.

Demand was strong overall, but with mixed results across travel destinations due to unusually large exchange rate fluctuations, declines in oil prices and other commodities that increased disposable income in importing countries but weakened exporters’ demand, and heightened security concerns.

“The 2015 results were affected by exchange rates, oil prices, and natural and man-made crises in many parts of the world. As the current environment particularly emphasizes safety issues, we should remember that the development of tourism depends to a large extent on our collective ability to promote safe and seamless travel. In this context, the UNWTO urges governments to involve tourism administrations in their national security planning, structures and procedures, not only to ensure that exposure to the sector is minimized, but also to maximize the sector’s ability to provide safety and security Supporting relief seamlessly and safely travel can and should go hand in hand, ”added Rifai.

Growth in travel destinations for advanced economies (+ 5%) outpaced emerging markets (+ 4%), supported by solid European results (+ 5%).

By region, Europe, America, Asia and the Pacific recorded growth of around 5% in 2015. Arrivals in the Middle East increased 3% while Africa saw an estimated 3% decrease due to limited data available, mainly due to poor data results in North Africa, which accounts for over a third of the arrivals in the region.

Positive prospects for 2016

The results of the UNWTO confidence index remain largely positive for 2016, albeit at a slightly lower level than in the two previous years. Based on the current trend and these prospects, the UNWTO is forecasting global growth in international tourist arrivals of 4% for 2016.

By region, stronger growth is expected in Asia and the Pacific (+ 4% to + 5%) and America (+ 4% to + 5%), followed by Europe (+ 3.5% to + 4.5%) . The forecasts for Africa (+ 2% to 5%) and the Middle East (+ 2% to + 5%) are positive, but with a higher degree of uncertainty and volatility.

Regional results 2015

Europe (+ 5%) resulted in absolute and relative growth, supported by a weaker euro against the US dollar and other major currencies. Arrivals reached 609 million or 29 million more than in 2014. Central and Eastern Europe (+ 6%) recovered from the drop in arrivals last year. Northern Europe (+ 6%), Southern Europe (+ 5%) and Western Europe (+ 4%) also had solid results, especially given the many mature targets that make up them.

Asia and Pacific (+ 5%) added 13 million more international tourist arrivals last year, to reach 277 million, with uneven results across travel destinations. Oceania (+ 7%) and Southeast Asia (+ 5%) led the growth, while South Asia and Northeast Asia saw an increase of 4%.

International tourist arrivals in the America (+ 5%) grew by 9 million to 191 million, which confirms the strong results of 2014. The appreciation of the US dollar stimulated foreign travel from the US and benefited the US Caribbean and Central Americaboth recorded a growth of 7%. The results in South America and North America (both with + 4%) were close to the average.

International tourist arrivals in the middle East grew an estimated 3% to a total of 54 million, consolidating the recovery initiated in 2014.

Limited data available for Africa indicates a 3% decrease in international arrivals to a total of 53 million. Arrivals fell 8% in North Africa and 1% in sub-Saharan Africa, with the latter returning to positive growth in the second half of the year. (The results for Africa and the Middle East should be read with caution as they are based on limited data available.)

China, the US, and the UK lead outbound travel growth in 2015

Some leading source markets drove tourism spending in 2015, aided by a strong currency and economy.

Among the most important source markets in the world, China has been a leader in global outbound travel every year with double-digit spending growth since 2004, benefiting Asian destinations such as Japan and Thailand as well as the US and various European destinations.

In contrast, spending in the previously very dynamic source markets of the Russian Federation and Brazil fell significantly, reflecting economic constraints in both countries and the devaluation of the ruble and real against virtually all other currencies.

In traditional source markets for advanced economies, spending from the US (+ 9%), the world’s second largest source market, and the UK (+ 6%) were boosted by a strong currency and a recovering economy. Spending from Germany, Italy and Australia grew more slowly (all + 2%), while demand from Canada and France was rather weak.


UNWTO media officer
Rut Gomez nephew
Tel .: (+34) 91 567 81 60

UNWTO Program for Communication and Publications

Telephone: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218

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