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Published on : Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Worldwide, number of international tourists rose by 4% to 1.2 billion in 2016, with Asians traveling more. However, security fears affected visitor arrivals in Europe, according to the UNWTO. The UNWTO said that the number of people living in Asia and discovering both their own region and the rest of the world increased 8% compared to 2015. The Asia-Pacific area proved to be a preferred destination, the second most visited after Europe. In 2016, number of tourists visiting Europe slowed down due to security concerns. The UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said that results in Europe were very mixed with few destinations registering a double-digit growth and some others a flat rate.
The UNWTO said that the Americas registered a 4% growth in visitor numbers. Africa recovered from a visitor drop in 2015 and had an 8% growth. The Middle East meanwhile saw a 4% drop in visitor arrivals. In 2015, France ranked number one, followed by the United States and Spain. But France has been hard hit by terror attacks in the past two years, and the fears have impacted tourist arrivals. According to the UNWTO, tourism represents 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP), 7% of international trade and 30% of service exports. One in every eleven jobs comes from tourism.