Over 1.1 billion tourists worldwide in 2014
According to the official figures published January 27 by the UN World Tourism Organization, there were 1.138 billion international travelers in 2014.
This is 51 million more tourists than in the previous year, representing a rise of 4.7%.
These latest figures confirm the trend seen in recent years, in which the growth in international tourism has consistently exceeded expectations.
"Over the past years, tourism has proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity and a fundamental contributor to the economic recovery by generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of jobs," said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai at the opening of the Spain Global Tourism Forum in Madrid.
Regions that saw the highest rise in visitors last year included the Americas (+7%) -- particularly North America -- and the Asia-Pacific region (+5%).
With a 4% increase in visitors to 588 million, Europe retained its status as the world's most visited region. Growth was the strongest in Northern Europe and in Southern and Mediterranean Europe (both +7%), while Western Europe saw a more modest increase (+2%).
Tourism in the Middle East also continued to rise (+4%), while the number of visitors to Africa reached 56 million visitors (+2%).
Finally, with regards to the source of these tourists, the organization noted a marked decrease in travelers from Russia (-6%). China remained the world's leading "supplier" of tourists, with 109 million travelers departing from the country in 2014.
In 2015, the UNWTO expects to see international traveler numbers grow by between 3% and 4%.