705 million tourists throughout the world since start of 2012

Traveler numbers increased by 4 percent year on year between January and August, according to official figures released by the WTO (World Tourism Organization) on Monday, November 5. 

Over the first eight months of the year, the WTO recorded an increase of 28 million tourists compared with last year's numbers. If the trend takes hold, the WTO predicts that the billion tourist threshold will be reached by the end of the year.

Compared with the first five months of the year, which saw an average increase in tourists hovering around 5 percent, June and July were a bit slower, with respective increases of 2.7 percent and 1.4 percent. The surge was more pronounced in August (+4%), which is generally the most travel-friendly month of the year.

The best figures come from tourism towards the Asia-Pacific region (+7%) and Africa (+6%). Europe (+3%) and the Americas (+4%) also increased their numbers of visitors. In the Middle East, tourism seems to be rebounding, although the numbers are still down year on year (-1%). Last year's tourist numbers for the region painted an even more pessimistic picture, with a 7 percent drop.

The WTO recorded 990 million tourists around the world in 2011, and expects a 3 to 4 percent increase at the end of this year.