Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Wed January 20 2016

International Tourist Arrivals Reach Record-Breaking 1.184 B in 2015

Features & Advice | Donald Wood | January 20, 2016

International Tourist Arrivals Reach Record-Breaking 1.184 B in 2015

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced its World Tourism Barometer, which indicated a record-breaking 1.184 billion people traveled internationally in 2015.

According to the UNWTO’s official website, international tourist arrivals grew by 4.4 percent overall in 2015, meaning around 50 million more travelers spent at least one night in a destination outside their home country last year as compared to 2014.

The results of the World Tourism Barometer indicate a sixth consecutive year of above-average growth, jumping at least four percent each year since 2010. There are many reasons behind the increase in travelers, including strong exchange rates, the drop in oil prices and increased disposable income.

The growth isn’t just confined to 2015, either, as the results of the UNWTO Confidence Index indicate international tourist arrivals will likely grow by four percent worldwide in 2016.

UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai released a statement about the study’s findings:

“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability.”

“2015 results were influenced by exchange rates, oil prices and natural and manmade crises in many parts of the world. As the current environment highlights in a particular manner the issues of safety and security, we should recall that tourism development greatly depends upon our collective capacity to promote safe, secure and seamless travel. In this respect, UNWTO urges governments to include tourism administrations in their national security planning, structures and procedures, not only to ensure that the sector’s exposure to threats is minimized but also to maximize the sector’s ability to support security and facilitation, as seamless and safe travel can and should go hand in hand.”


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