• International tourism continues to grow above average

    Ramesh Tiwari
    July 21, 2016
    International tourism continues to grow above average

    Madrid ( UNWTO ) : International tourist arrivals grew by 5% between January and April 2016 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Results were robust across almost all subregions and many destinations reported double-digit growth.

    Destinations worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2016, some 18 million more than the same period last year (+5.3%). This follows an increase of 4.6% in 2015, and could make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year following the crisis in 2009.

    “Results show a strong desire to travel and this continues to drive tourism growth. Destinations keep benefitting from solid demand across all world regions despite ongoing challenges, showing that tourism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

    “Yet, despite these good results, the tragic events of recent months remind us that safety and security remain a major challenge for all. We must continue to work closely together to address this global threat and ensure tourism is an integral part of emergency planning and response at global, regional and national level” added Mr. Rifai.

    UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to increase by 3.5% to 4.5% over the full year 2016, in line with UNWTO’s long-term projection of 3.8% growth a year for the period 2010 to 2020.

    Asia and the Pacific (+9%) recorded the highest growth in international arrivals across world regions in January-April 2016, with robust results in all four subregions. South-East Asia and Oceania both achieved 10% growth, while arrivals in North-East Asia increased by 8% and in South Asia by 7%.

    In Africa (+7%), international tourist arrivals experienced a clear rebound in Subsaharan Africa (+13%), while in North Africa results were down by 8%.

    In the Americas (+6%), all four subregions continued to enjoy significant growth in the first four months of 2016, led by Central America and South America (both at +7%). Arrivals in the Caribbean (+6%) and North America (+5%) were fuelled by continued strong outbound demand from the United States, where tourism expenditure increased by 9% through May.

    Europe (+4%), the world’s most visited region, consolidated its healthy growth of recent years with Northern Europe and Central and Eastern Europe (both at +6%) in the lead, followed by Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+4%) and Western Europe (+3%).

    International tourist arrivals in the Middle East are estimated to have declined by 7% through April according to available information.

    UNWTO estimates that some 500 million tourists will travel internationally between May and August 2016, the Northern Hemisphere summer holiday peak season, accounting for about 41% of the year’s total international tourist arrivals.

    According to the UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index, prospects for May-August 2016 remain positive and in line with the performance of January-April. The Index shows confidence is highest in Europe, followed by the Americas.

    On the positive side, Brazil is looking forward to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August. A downside is that security concerns remain high on the agenda. Furthermore, the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union in the recent referendum (‘Brexit’) has raised uncertainty in the market and led to a substantial depreciation of the UK pound Sterling.

    However, UNWTO does not expect this to have a significant impact on international travel in the short term.

    July 20, 2016

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
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      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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