International tourism spending, including air travel, set a new record, growing to $1.5 trillion in 2014, according to the UN's World Tourism Organization. International tourist arrivals increased by 4.4 percent, reaching a total 1,135 million, up from 1,087 million in 2013.
“International tourism is an increasingly significant component of international trade as seen in export earnings from international tourism and passenger transport, which reached US$ 1.5 trillion in 2014” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “In a scenario with decreasing commodity prices, spending on international tourism grew significantly in 2014, proving the sector’s capacity to stimulate economic growth, boost exports and create jobs”, he added.
Tourism revenues grew all over the world, including Europe, up $17 billion, Asia and the Pacific, up $16 billion, the Americas, up $10 billion, the Middle East, up by $ 4 billion to US$ 49 billion, and in Africa, up $1 billion.
The U.S. held on to the top spot, with tourism revenues of $177 billion. Spain was number two, while China climbed into third place and the UK climbed two spots, up to seventh.
On the outbound side of the equation, China was the world's top spender and continued its exceptional pace of growth with a 28 percent increase in 2014, reaching a total of US$ 165 billion. While the two other major emerging markets among the first 10, the Russian Federation lost a little ground, various advanced economy source markets picked up in growth. The world’s second-largest tourism spender, the United States posted a 7 percent increase, and the The United Kingdom spent 4 percent more than last year, moving from 5th to 4th in the rankings. France increased expenditure by 11 percent, retaining the 6th position, and Italy by 6%, climbing from 9th to 8th. Germany (3rd), Canada (7th) and Australia (9th) take the remaining places of the top ten.