World tourist numbers surge to nearly 1.1 billion

(Blend Images/

(Blend Images/


, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

International tourist numbers surged to nearly 1.1 billion in 2013 with growth in the Asia-Pacific region leading the industry to a strong year despite global economic troubles, the World Tourism Organisation announced Monday.

The number of international tourist arrivals grew by five percent from the previous year to 1.09 billion in 2013, said the Madrid-based UN body.

That figure is expected to grow again by 4.0-4.5 percent in 2014, the organisation said in a report.

Tourist arrivals rose at the fastest rate in the Asia-Pacific, where numbers were up by six percent to 248 million, it said.

Europe, however, remained the biggest destination, with international tourist arrivals up five percent to 563 million.

Among countries of origin, Chinese tourists -- already leading the way with expenditure of $102 billion in 2012 -- pushed up total spending by 28 percent in the first nine months of 2013, the UN body said.

Tourists from Russia, the fifth largest country of origin of international tourists, drove up spending by 26 percent in the same period, it said.