Despite terror and disease fears throughout 2015, last year still turned out on top for international traveler spending and arrivals.
International tourism receipts in destinations around the world grew by 3.6 percent year-over-year in 2015 to total $1.4 trillion, in line with the 4.4 percent increase in international arrivals (1.2 billion), according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
International spending receipts in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East all grew by four percent year-over-year, while in Europe they grew by three percent and in Africa by two percent. Strong growth in the Americas is due to a stronger United States dollar, the UNWTO said in a statement.
Overall spending in emerging economies such as Southeast Asia grew nearly seven percent over 2014 compared to 1.2 percent for advanced economies.
The U.S., China, Spain, and France continue to be the top destinations both in international tourism receipts and tourist arrivals. China, the U.S., and the UK had the most outbound travelers last year. Spending by Chinese travelers, the world’s largest outbound travel market, increased 25 percent year-over-year in 2015 ($292 billion) as total outbound travelers increased by 10 percent to 128 million.
International receipts in the U.S. increased by nine percent in 2015 to $120 billion from 73 million outbound travelers, an eight percent increase from last year.
For the fourth consecutive year, international tourism grew faster than world retail trade, raising tourism’s share in world exports to seven percent in 2015.
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Photo credit: Travelers at the One World Trade Center Observatory in New York City. Dan Peltier / Skift