The rapid growth of international tourism, in one chart

Photo: Phil Noble/Getty Images.

2017 was a strong year for the global economy, including the tourism sector.

According to latest UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew by 7% to 1.322 billion last year, the strongest year of growth since 2010.

Source; UNTWO

“2017 was characterised by sustained growth in many destinations and a firm recovery in those that suffered decreases in previous years,” the UNTWO said.

“Results were partly shaped by the global economic upswing and the robust outbound demand from many traditional and emerging source markets, particularly a rebound in tourism spending from Brazil and the Russian Federation after a few years of declines.”

By region, the UNTWO said that international arrivals to Europe surged by 8%, outpacing solid increases in Africa and the Asia Pacific.

“Led by Mediterranean destinations, Europe recorded extraordinary results for such a large and rather mature region, with 8% more international arrivals than in 2016,” the UNTWO said.

“Africa consolidated its 2016 rebound with an 8% increase. Asia and the Pacific recorded 6% growth, the Middle East 5% and the Americas 3%.”

Source: UNTWO

In numeric terms, the UNTWO said arrivals to Europe rose to 671 million, larger than those to the Asia Pacific (324 million), Americas (207 million), Africa (62 million) and the Middle East (58 million) combined.

After such stellar growth in 2017, the UNTWO is expecting annual growth to slow fractionally in the year ahead.

“The current strong momentum is expected to continue in 2018, though at a more sustainable pace after eight years of steady expansion following the 2009 economic and financial crisis,” it says.

“[The] UNWTO projects international tourist arrivals worldwide to grow at a rate of 4%-5% in 2018.”

By region, it forecasts that arrivals to both Europe and the Americas will grow by 3.5%-4.5%, outpaced by growth of 5%-6% in the Asia Pacific, 5%-7% in Africa and 4%-6% in the Middle East.

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