World Receives About One Billion Int’l Tourists First Nine Months Of 2016———UNWTO



The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)has said that destinations around the world welcomed 956 million international tourists between January and September 2016,

This figure according to the body is 34 million more compared to the same period of 2015, a 4% increase.

The body in its official website said that demand for international tourism remained robust in the first nine months of 2016, though growing at a somewhat more moderate pace.

It added that after a strong start of the year, growth was slower in the second quarter of 2016 to pick up again in the third quarter of the year.

UNWTO added that while most destinations report encouraging results, others continue to struggle with the impact of negative events, either in their country or in their region.

According to UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, “Tourism is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economic sectors but it is also very sensitive to risks, both actual and perceived. As such, the sector must continue to work together with governments and stakeholders to minimize risks, respond effectively and build confidence among travelers.”

Speaking ahead of of the Ministerial Meeting on Safe, Secure and Seamless Travel to be held at the World Travel Market in London on 9 November 9.2016, Rifai said, “No destination is immune to risks. We need to increase cooperation in addressing these global threats, namely those related to safety and security. And we need to make tourism an integral part of emergency planning and response.”

“Real crises are often magnified or distorted by misperception and affected destinations are facing important challenges, although at the global level demand remains strong. We need to support these countries in restoring confidence, as doing so will benefit the entire tourism sector and society as a whole.” Rifai recalled

UNWTO said that Asia and the Pacific led growth across world regions, with international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) up 9 per cent through September and that all four sub-regions shared in this growth.

It added that many destinations reported double-digit growth, with the Republic of Korea +34 per cent, Vietnam +36 per cent, Japan +24 per cent  and Sri Lanka +15 per cent  in the lead.

According to UNWTO in Europe, international arrivals grew by 2 per cent between January and September 2016, with solid growth in most destinations and that nonetheless, double-digit increases in major destinations such as Spain, Hungary, Portugal and Ireland were offset by feeble results in France, Belgium and Turkey.

As a consequence, Northern Europe grew by 6 per cent  and Central and Eastern Europe by 5 per cent  while results were weaker in Western Europe (-1 per cent) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+0 per cent ).

International tourist arrivals in the Americas increased by 4 per cent through September. South America (+7 per cent) and Central America (+6 per cent) led results, followed closely by the Caribbean and North America (both +4 per cent .

In Africa (+8 per cent ), sub-Saharan destinations rebounded strongly throughout the year, while North Africa picked up in the third quarter.

Available data for the Middle East points to a 6 per cent decrease in arrivals, though results vary from destination to destination.

Results started to gradually improve in the second half of the year in both North Africa and the Middle East.

The great majority of leading source markets in the world reported increases in international tourism expenditure during the first three to nine months of 2016.

Among the top five source markets, China, the world’s top source market, continues to drive demand, reporting double-digit growth in spending (+19 per cent ). Likewise, robust results come from the United States (+9 per cent ), which benefited many destinations in the Americas and beyond.

Germany reported a 5 per cent increase in expenditure, the United Kingdom, a 10 per cent increase and France, 3 per cent growth.

In the rest of the top ten, tourism spending grew notably in Australia and the Republic of Korea (both +9 per cent), and moderately in Italy (+3 per cent).

By contrast, expenditure from the Russian Federation declined 37per cent and from Canada a slight 2 per cent.

Beyond the top 10, eight other markets reported double-digit growth: Egypt (+38 per cent ), Argentina (+27 per cent), Spain (+19 per cent ), India (+16 per cent), Thailand (+15per cent), Ukraine (+15 per cent), Ireland (+12 per cent ) and Norway (+11 per cent).

Prospects remain positive for the remaining quarter of 2016 according to the UNWTO Confidence Index.

The members of the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts are confident about the September-December period, mostly in Africa, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific.

Experts in Europe and the Middle East are somewhat more cautious.


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