International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew by 4.4% in 2015, reaching a total of 1,184 million in 2015. Some 50 million more tourists traveled internationally in 2015 than in 2014, and 2015 marked the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth since the 2009 economic crisis.1 The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Confidence Index predicts a continuation of growth in international tourism in 2016.

The travel industry contributed US$7.2 trillion or 9.8% to world GDP in 2015, and is forecast to grow by 4% per annum over the next ten years. Leisure spending represents 77% of travel & tourism GDP, with business spending contributing 23%. Travel and tourism also provided 284 million jobs (direct, indirect, and induced) in 2015, representing 9.5% of total employment or 1 in 11 jobs in the world.

“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world,” says UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism… including sustainability.”

Tourism Terms Responsible Travel is one of several closely related terms that are ethically based. In addition, as the final section of this report demonstrates, a growing number of niche markets also promote responsible tourism.

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Source: Center for Responsible Travel