Global tourism - additional informationInternational tourist arrivals increased gradually between 2009 and 2019 as a result of the growing ease of travel for many people around the world. In recent years, the number of tourists traveling the globe annually exceeded the one billion mark. In 2019, the region with the largest number of outbound travelers was Europe, with approximately 703 million travelers, while Asia Pacific was the second leading region. Figures were also similar in terms of international tourist arrivals to the two regions. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecast that the gap between the Asia Pacific region and Europe will shorten significantly by 2030.
Travel and tourism made a total contribution of roughly 9.26 trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy in 2019. The economic impact of tourism is clearly recognized by country leaders all over the world and it is particularly important to those of less developed economies. The fastest-emerging country in terms of tourism’s direct economic contribution in coming years is expected to be Namibia. The South-West African country’s tourism industry focuses on wildlife and ecotourism and is predicted to grow by 9.1 percent annually between 2014 and 2024.
At the other end of the scale, leading tourist destinations, such as France, Spain, and the United States attracted around 80 million visitors in 2019. In the case of cities, the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index found that Bangkok was the most visited city worldwide in 2018, with 22.78 million international visitors.