Global international tourist arrivals rose 6% year on year in the first four months of 2018, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), exceeding the organisation’s forecast.

The Caribbean was the only sub-region to experience a decline in arrivals, with visitors down 9% on the same period in 2017 as some destinations continued to struggle from the impact of last autumn’s hurricanes.

The UNWTO reported 8% growth in visitors in Asia and the Pacific, with numbers in Southeast Asia 10% higher and in South Asia up 9%

International arrivals in Europe rose 7% in the first four months with arrivals in Mediterranean Europe and Western Europe increasing by 8%.

Growth in the Americas was put at 3%, but with South America seeing an 8% rise. There was 6% growth in Africa and 4% in the Middle East.

The UNWTO had forecast growth in international tourism numbers of between 4% and 5% for this year.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “International tourism continues to show significant growth worldwide, and this translates into job creation in many economies.”

However, he said: “This growth reminds us of the need to increase our capacity to develop and manage tourism in a sustainable way, making the most of technology and innovation.”

The UNWTO reported international tourism receipts rose 5% last year on 2016 off the back of a 7% increase in tourist arrivals.

This put total annual receipts from tourism globally at $1,332 billion.

Europe recorded 8% growth in receipts to $517 billion in 2017, comprising 38% of global tourism receipts.

Income from tourism rose 1% year on year in the Americas in 2017, 3% in Asia and the Pacific, and 13% in the Middle East.