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International tourist arrivals to the European Union (EU) increased four percent in 2016, reaching almost 500 million or 40 percent of the world’s total, as shown by preliminary results released in World Tourism Organization’s report European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends.

According to the review, the 28 EU countries boasted a solid boost in international travellers, exceeding the world’s average growth rate, and increasing by 21 million in 2016.

It also marked the seventh consecutive year of an upward trajectory for the region, now with 107 million more tourists than 2008, the year preceding a period of economic instability.

The positive figures reinforce the valuable contribution of the industry to economic development, job creation and social well-being in the EU.