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International tourist arrivals reached a record 1.087 billion in 2013, the United National World Tourism Organization announced today. This is up 5 percent, or 52 million international tourists, from the 1.035 billion tourism arrivals reported in 2012.

The UNWTO expects international tourist arrivals to continue increasing up to 4.5 percent in 2014.

This year Europe led growth in absolute volume with an additional 29 million arrivals in 2013. A total 563 million international tourists arrived in Europe last year.

However, Asia and the Pacific experienced the greatest relative growth with 14 million additional arrivals, up 6 percent from 2012. A total 248 million international tourists traveled in and through the region last year.

The Middle East is the only country that reported no change in tourists arrivals between 2012 and 2013.

The chart below outlines the growth in international tourist arrivals in the 5 major regions in 2013:

Region2013 GrowthTotal Tourist Arrivals (Millions)2014 Prospects
Asia and the Pacific+6%248+5% to +6%
Africa+6%56+4% to +6%
Europe+5%563+3% to +4%
Americas+4%169+3% to +4%
Middle East+0%520% to +5%

The greatest growth in tourist arrivals in a single sub-region is 10 percent in South-East Asia. Central and Eastern Europe and Southern Mediterranean Europe also experienced high growth up to 7 percent.

The following chart outlines 2013 growth in international tourist arrivals by sub-region:

Sub-Region2013 Growth
Central and Eastern Europe+7%
Southern Mediterranean Europe+6%
South-East Asia+10%
South Asia+5%
Oceania and North-East Asia+4% each
North and Central America+4% each
South America+2%
North Africa+6%
Sub-Saharan destinations+5%
Photo Credit: An infographic highlighting the changes in international tourist arrivals by region in 2013. UNWTO