International tourism receipts in destinations around the world grew by 3.6% in 2015, in line with the 4.4% increase in international arrivals.
Income generated by international visitors on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping and other services and goods reached an estimated US$ 1,232 billion (euro 1,110 billion) in 2015, an increase of 3.6% accounting for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation. International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 4.4% in 2015, reaching a total of 1,184 million.
Alongside international tourism receipts (the travel item of the balance of payments), international tourism generated US$ 210 billion in exports through international non-resident passenger transport services, bringing the total value of tourism exports up to US$ 1.4 trillion, or US$ 4 billion a day on average.
International tourism represents 7% of total world exports and 30% of services exports. The share of tourism in overall exports of goods and services increased from 6% to 7% in 2015 as for the fourth consecutive year international tourism outgrew world merchandise trade, which grew 2.8% in 2015 according to recent data reported by the World Trade Organization.
As a worldwide export category, tourism ranks third after fuels and chemicals and ahead of food and automotive products. In many developing countries, tourism ranks as the first export sector.
The U.S., China, remain top tourism destinations worldwide
The United States (US$ 178 billion), China (US$ 114 billion), Spain (US$ 57 billion) and France (US$ 46 billion) continue to be the top destinations both in international tourism receipts and tourist arrivals. The above data is preliminary and subject to revision.
Leading source markets drive outbound tourism in 2015
China, the United States and the United Kingdom led outbound tourism last year, fuelled by their strong currencies and economies.
China continues to lead global outbound travel after double-digit growth in tourism expenditure every year since 2004, benefitting Asian destinations such as Japan and Thailand as well as the United States and various European destinations. Spending by Chinese travellers increased 25% in 2015 to reach US$ 292 billion, as total outbound travellers rose 10% to 128 million.
Tourism expenditure from the world’s second largest source market, the United States, increased by 9% in 2015 to US$ 120 billion, while the number of outbound travellers grew by 8% to 73 million.
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