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Report: World tourism reaches all-time high

The UN tourism agency has announced an even larger leap than anticipated in the number of global travelers in 2015. The threat of terror attacks has left some hotspots hurting, however.

An incredible 1.18 billion tourists traveled the world in 2015, breaking all records, according to a Monday press release from the Union Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO). It appeared that global terrorism had not done much to hinder the world's wanderlust, with the number of international tourists rising 4.4 percent over the previous year.

This made 2015 the sixth consecutive year of increased tourism since the 2008-2009 economic crisis, according the Madrid-based UNWTO.

Tourism was on the rise almost everywhere, going up 5 percent in Europe and North America. The only place where it sank was North Africa, where once-popular resorts in Tunisia and Egypt have taken a hit due to "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist attacks.

Visitors to the region dipped a staggering 8 percent following the attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis and Tunisia's resort of Sousse, tragedies that left 59 vacationers dead. It's a hard blow to an area that relies heavily on tourists' dollars to support the local economy.

"We are facing now a global threat," the head of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, said a press conference before calling on regional governments to make their best efforts to boost security.

The world's most eager tourists came from China, the US and the UK, the report said, while the number of outbound holidaymakers from Russia and Brazil decreased significantly.

The UNWTO said they expected tourism to maintain its upward trend next year, but at a slightly reduced margin of 4 percent.

es/kms (AFP, dpa)

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