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Global tourism grows at 6% with 598 million tourist arrivals in first half of 2017 – WTO

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Global tourism has showed the strongest growth yet since 2010 as destinations around the world received 598 million international tourists in the first half of 2017, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

According to the World Tourism Barometer Volume 15, published in August, the WTO indicates that visitor numbers reported by destinations around the world reflect strong demand for international travel in the first half of 2017.

“Worldwide, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 6 per cent compared to the same six-month period last year, well above the sustained and consistent trend of 4 per cent or higher growth since 2010. This represents the strongest half-year in seven years,” it said.

The results, it says are underpinned by robust growth in many destinations and a continuation of the recovery in those that suffered declines in previous years.

“Of UNWTO regions, growth was strongest in the Middle East (+9 per cent), Europe (+8 per cent) and Africa (+8 per cent), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+6 per cent) and the Americas (+3 per cent).

The first half of the year usually accounts for about 46 per cent of total annual international arrivals, with the second half longer by three days and including the Northern Hemisphere high season months of July and August,” it added.

The Barometer states that the Mediterranean destinations reported particularly strong growth in the first half of 2017, as reflected in the results for Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+12 per cent), North Africa (+16 per cent) and the Middle East (+9 per cent,), noting that this trend is driven by the continued strength of many destinations in the area, combined with a significant rebound in destinations that suffered decreases in previous years, such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.

It said furthermore, international tourist arrivals through June grew 8 per cent in Northern Europe, 6 per cent in Western Europe and 4 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe.

“Sub-Saharan Africa recorded 4 per cent more arrivals. South Asia (+12 per cent) led growth in Asia and the Pacific, followed by Oceania (+8 per cent) and South-East Asia (+7 per cent), while results in North-East Asia (+4 per cent) were more mixed.

The Americas continued to enjoy positive results across most destinations. Growth was solid in South America (+6 per cent), Central America (+5 per cent) and the Caribbean (+4 per cent). In North America (+2 per cent), robust results for Mexico and Canada were partly offset by a decrease in arrivals to the United States, the region’s largest destination,” it noted.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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