Published on : Monday, July 24, 2017
In the first four months of 2017, destinations throughout the world welcomed 369 million international tourists (overnight visitors), which is an increase of 6%, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. International tourist arrivals for January to April 2017 increased by 6% relative to the same period during the previous year.
The positive results are mainly due to the sustained growth of major destinations and sharp upturn in the growth of other destinations. The UNWTO stressed that expectations for May to August remain high.
The majority of the destinations which were most successful in 2016 maintained their momentum and those which had encountered difficulties during the previous years saw very positive growth during the first four months of 2017. Examples are Middle East (+10%), Africa (+8%) and Europe (+6%). The Asia Pacific region (+6%) and the Americas (+4%), which experienced robust growth.
To quote the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai, “Destinations affected by negative events in 2016 are showing clear signs of recovery. This is very good news, especially for people whose livelihood depends on tourism in these destinations. As we celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017, we are pleased with the continued development of tourism and would like to remind people that growth is accompanied by an increased responsibility to ensure that tourism contributes to the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental. Growth should never be regarded as an enemy and it is our duty to manage it in a sustainable way.”
In Europe, after mixed results last year, international tourist arrivals rebounded (+6%) during the period spanning January to April. Moreover, confidence has returned regarding certain destinations which had been affected by security-related incidents. In the Asia Pacific region, tourist arrivals increased by 6% from the beginning of the year until April, with strong results for the four sub regions – South Asia (+14%), followed by Oceania (+7%), Southeast Asia (+6%) and Northeast Asia (+5%). In the Americas, international tourist arrivals increased by 4%, with strong results for South and Central America (+7%), while arrivals in North America increased by 3% and by 2% in the Caribbean.
Africa experienced an 8% increase of the number of international tourist arrivals, with a strong recovery (+18%) for North Africa. International tourist arrivals in the Middle East rebounded by around 10% after having experienced a 4% decline in 2016.