Skip to navigationSkip to content

Despite terror attacks, global tourism reached record levels last year

Reuters/Benoit Tessier
The iconic Eiffel Tower still beckons to strangers near and far.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

A record 1.18 billion people traveled internationally as tourists in 2015, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, marking the sixth year in a row that international tourism increased by at least 4%. It’s a remarkable statistic in light of recent terror reports, which tend to discourage tourism.

The number of terrorism-related deaths worldwide increased dramatically between 2013 and 2014, and the start of 2015 was marked by two shocking terror attacks in Paris, France—all contributing to heightened public fears. A poll in January 2015 showed that 93% of people in France perceived a “mostly high” or “very high” threat from terrorism.

Although the French weren’t wrong to be concerned, as Paris would be targeted by violent extremists again before the end of the year, France remained the number one tourist destination in the world in 2015. Collectively, European countries hosted more tourists than all the nations in the rest of the world, and the continent also counted the largest increase in tourists from 2014.

World Tourism Organization

Tourism appears to be growing more resilient to terrorism as time goes on—at least in developed countries, as Quartz noted in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.