World Tourism Highlights for 2013, UNWTO 2014 Edition

Updated: 7 December, 2014 seen 2,606

Did you now that 9% of Worlds GDP in 2013 was made thanks to tourism and related services?

It turns out that every 1 of 11 employees is employed in tourism sector. Tourism industry in 2013 generated $1.4 trillions in export, what is about 6% of Worlds export and pretty serious 29% of services export.

World Tourism Organization

World Tourism Organization (Image source:

I didn't. But thanks to The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) I learned that.

International tourism in 2013 - key trends and outlook

  • International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew by 5% worldwide 2013, reaching a record 1087 million arrivals, after topping the 1 billion mark in 2012.
  • Asia and the Pacific recorded the strongest growth with a 6% increase in arrivals, followed by Europe and Africa (both +5%).
  • In the Americas, international arrivals grew by 3%, while in the Middle East they were flat.
  • International tourism receipts reached US$ 1159 billion worldwide in 2013, up from US$ 1078 billion in 2012.
  • With a 5% increase in real terms, the growth in international tourism receipts equalled the growth in arrivals.
  • China has consolidated its position as the number one tourism source market in the world, spending US$ 129 billion on international tourism.
  • Forecasts prepared by UNWTO in January 2014 point to growth of 4% to 4.5% in international tourist arrivals in 2014 – above The Tourism Towards 2030 long-term forecast of 3.3% a year.
  • By UNWTO region, prospects for 2014 are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (5% to 6%), followed by Africa (4% to 6%)

International Tourist Arrivals

International Tourist Arrivals

International Tourist Arrivals (Image source:

International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew by 5% in 2013, reaching a record 1087 million arrivals worldwide, up from 1035 million in 2012, when the 1 billion mark was exceeded for the first time ever. 

Despite a global economy in ‘low gear’, demand for international tourism exceeded expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling internationally in 2013.

Europe led the growth in absolute terms, welcoming 29 million more international tourists in 2013, and raising the total to 563 million. Growth (+5%) was double the region’s average for the period 2005-2012 (+2.5% a year).

Asia and the Pacific recorded the fastest relative growth across all UNWTO regions, with a 6% increase in international arrivals, or 14 million more than in 2012. 

Africa saw an increase of 5%, equivalent to 3 million more tourists, reaching 56 million.

In the Americas, international arrivals grew by 3% to 168 million, or an increase of five million. 

The Middle East (0%) has not yet succeeded in returning to growth, even though some destinations performed rather well and others saw a moderate recovery.

Growth is expected to continue in 2014 at a sustained rate of 4.0% to 4.5% worldwide. 

By UNWTO region, prospects for 2014 are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (+5% to +6%) and Africa (+4% to +6%), followed by Europe and the Americas (both +3% to +4%). In the Middle East (0% to +5%) prospects are positive yet volatile.

Europe – a surprisingly strong 2013

International tourist arrivals in Europe were up by a solid 5% in 2013, an increase of 29 million on 2012 to a total of 563 million.
As the most visited region in the world with 52% of all international arrivals and comprising many comparatively mature destinations, a growth rate of 5% in Europe is remarkable. 

Tourism receipts grew by 4% in real terms, reaching US$ 489 billion (euro 368 billion), accounting for 42% of receipts worldwide.
By subregion, the highest growth was recorded in Central and Eastern Europe, with 7% more arrivals in 2013. 

Many destinations recorded double-digit growth, especially smaller ones such as Georgia and Belarus (both +15%), Armenia (+14%) and Kazakhstan (+11%). while the subregion’s largest destination, the Russian Federation, reported a robust 10% increase. Ukraine and Poland (both +7%) consolidated their healthy growth of 2012 when they hosted the UEFA European football Championship.

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Hi! My name is Reinis Fischer (38), a proud dad and devoted husband. CEO and Founder of Terramatris crypto hedge fund, drone enthusiast, world traveler, photographer, and passionate lover of Georgian cuisine (vegetarian).

An ex-pat living in Georgia since 2011, I trade stocks, take photographs, work out at the gym, and many more. Here I write about travel, finance, and other things that might interest me.