International travel has been rising steadily for the past six years, and 2015 was no exception. A record-breaking 1.2 billion travelers spent at least one night in an international destination last year—that’s 50 million more than in 2014, or a 4.4 percent increase—according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which initially predicted only a three to four percent growth in 2015.
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The top regions visited last year were Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas—all of which received about a five percent year-over-year increase in tourism. Europe led with 609 million visits (a 29 million increase from 2014) while a reported 13 million more people traveled to Asia and the Pacific last year than in 2014. Additionally, the Americas saw an increase of nine million visitors from the year before.
Arrivals to the Middle East increased by three percent, while Africa saw a three percent decrease.The most popular destinations visited in 2015 were France, followed by the United States, Spain, and China.