Belfast Telegraph

Global visitor numbers to soar as recovery powering ahead

by david elliott

Going on holiday is becoming more popular with people from all corners of the globe.

An additional 52m international tourists travelled the world in 2013, according to the latest report from the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) – a figure which has lifted the global tourism statistics to a record 1,087m arrivals for the year.

The UK as a destination saw tourism numbers climb 3% on the year, while Europe saw overseas visitor numbers climb 5%.

International visitor numbers were up 6% in Asia and the Pacific, and 6% to Africa during the year.

"2013 was an excellent year for international tourism," said UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai. "The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges.

"Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies"

The strong performance bodes well for the coming year with international arrivals globally expected to climb by 4%-4.5% in 2014.

"The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year," Mr Rifai said. "UNWTO calls upon governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth.

Europe and the Americas are both expected to see an uplift in international visitors of between 3% and 4%, Asia and the Pacific by between 5% and 6% and in Africa between 4% and 6%.

Belfast Telegraph