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Exports from international tourism rise to $1.5 trillion

Staff writer |
International tourism receipts increased by $48 billion in 2014 to reach a record $1,245 billion, according to UNWTO.

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Among top earners China and the United Kingdom moved up in the top ten.
An additional $221 billion was generated from international passenger transport, bringing total exports from international tourism up to $1.5 trillion, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

Receipts from international visitors spending on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping and other services and goods reached an estimated $1,245 billion (euro 937 billion) in 2014, an increase of 3.7% in real terms (taking into account exchange rate fluctuations and inflation).

International tourist arrivals increased by 4.4% in 2014, reaching a total 1,135 million, up from 1,087 million in 2013.

Aside from international tourism receipts (the travel item of the Balance of Payment), tourism also generates export earnings through international passenger transport services (rendered to non-residents). The latter amounted to an estimated $221 billion in 2014, bringing total exports from international tourism up to $1.5 trillion, or $4 billion a day on average.

International tourism (travel and passenger transport) represents 30% of the world's exports of services and 6% of overall exports of goods and services. As a worldwide export category, tourism ranks fourth after fuels, chemicals and food, ranking first in many developing countries.

Europe, which accounts for 41% of worldwide international tourism receipts, saw an increase in tourism earnings in absolute terms of $17 billion to $509 billion (euro 383 billion). Asia and the Pacific (30% share) saw an increase of $16 billion, reaching $377 billion (euro 284 bn). In the Americas, (22% share), receipts increased by $10 billion to a total of $274 billion (euro 206 bn).

In the Middle East, (4% share) tourism receipts increased by an estimated $4 billion to $49 billion (euro 37 bn) and in Africa (3% share) by $1 billion to $36 billion (euro 27 bn).

By subregion, Northern Europe, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North-East Asia, Oceania, South Asia, Caribbean, Central America, South America and the Middle East showed fastest growth in relative terms, all recording +5% or over in receipts.

In the top ten ranking by tourism earnings, China climbed from 5th to 3rd place following a 10% increase in earnings to $57 billion in 2014. The United States ($177 billion) and Spain ($65 billion) maintained first and second positions in the ranking.

The United Kingdom ($45 billion) moved up two positions to 7th, boosted by the lasting effects of the Olympics and the appreciation of the UK pound (increasing receipts calculated in US dollar terms). France, Macao (China) and Italy occupy the 4th to 6th positions respectively, while Germany, Thailand and Hong Kong (China) complete the top ten.

In terms of outbound tourism, the world's top spender China continued its exceptional pace of growth with a 28% increase in expenditure in 2014, reaching a total of $165 billion. While the two other major emerging markets among the first 10, the Russian Federation (-6%, 5th largest) and Brazil (+2%, 10th largest) lost strength, various advanced economy source markets picked up in growth.

The world's second largest spender, the United States posted a 7% increase. The United Kingdom spent 4% more and moved from 5th to 4th in the ranking. France increased expenditure by 11%, 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.

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