International tourist arrivals up 5pc

International tourist arrivals during the first 10 months of 2014 reached 978 million, an increase of 5 percent from the corresponding period last year, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has said. The Latest UNWTO report shows that there were 45 million more visitors from January to October 2014 than those recorded in 2013. Growth was strongest in the Americas where an 8 percent increase was recorded followed by Asia and the Pacific and Europe who recorded a five percent and four percent increase respectively.

“In view of this trend, international tourism is set to end 2014 with record numbers,” said UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai.

“These are remarkable results considering that different parts of the world continue to face significant geopolitical and health challenges, while the global economic recovery remains rather fragile and uneven.”

Rifai said tourism was showing strong growth mainly because in most parts of the world, governments were beginning to realize the potential tourism has on anchoring economic growth.

“More importantly, we see a growing political commitment to the tourism sector in many countries.

“This is encouraging, not in the least because tourism is one of the sectors that is best able to deliver on employment at a moment when job creation need to be a priority to all,” he added.

Africa’s international tourist numbers grew by 3 percent with North Africa consolidating its recovery at 2 percent while Sub-Saharan Africa’s arrivals were up by 3 percent despite challenges posed by the Ebola Disease Outbreak in a few West African countries.

The UNWTO expects International tourist arrivals to increase by between 4 percent and 4. 5 percent above the initial forecast of 3. 8 percent by the end of 2014.

Arrivals should hit a new record by the end of 2014, with over 1,1 billion international tourists travelling the world in one single year, according to the UNWTO.

International tourist arrivals in 2013 reached 1. 087 billion, up from 1.035 billion in 2012. — New Ziana

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