International Tourism Up in First Part of 2015

Based on strong results for the first four months of 2015, the United Nations' World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said yesterday that prospects are "upbeat" and "bullish" for the peak tourism season this summer.

According to UNWTO's latest "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer," published this week, international tourist arrivals grew by 4 percent worldwide between January and April, reaching approximately 332 million international tourists -- an increase of 16 million compared to the same period in 2014.

This summer, from May until August, UNWTO expects to see nearly 500 million more international tourists traveling the globe, the equivalent of 41 percent of all international tourist arrivals registered in one year. Year-end totals, it predicts, ultimately will show international tourism growth of 3 percent to 4 percent, which is in line with UNWTO's long-term forecast of 3.8 percent annual growth between 2010 and 2020.

"It is encouraging to see the tourism sector consolidating its excellent results despite security concerns and unrest in many parts of our world," said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai (pictured). "This underscores that tourism is a surprisingly resilient economic sector which increasingly contributes to development in many countries around the globe. For national governments, it is a reminder that tourism can be part of the solution to foster socio-economic development and job creation."

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