THE United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released its numbers for the first half of 2017 with the statistics signalling another year of strong growth.
During the first six months of this year international tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 6 per cent, compared to the same stretch in 2016, with 598 million travellers temporarily leaving their homeland to visit another country.
That’s a jump of more than 36 million people in just sixth months and points to 2017 being the eighth year of consecutive growth since the economic crisis of 2009.
When it comes to destinations visited many of 2016’s favourites are performing well again this year while some of the locations that struggled in previous stretches are starting to rebound.
The Middle East has seen a 10 per cent jump in arrivals following a 3 per cent plunge in 2016, Africa is up by 8 per cent with the north of the continent reporting a massive 17 per cent improvement, and both Asia and the Pacific are seeing a 6 per cent increase.
Europe is also reporting an 8 per cent jump with the numbers in south and west looking more healthy – the southern countries are up by 12 per cent compared to just 1 per cent last year, and the west is seeing six per cent growth after standing still in 2016 – while central and eastern regions are reporting two per cent which lines up with the previous reporting period.
The Americas are up 3 per cent with strong results in South America and Central America, both enjoying a 7 per cent hike, while North America arrivals only grew by 2% since Donald Trump took office.
“Destinations affected by negative events during 2016 are showing clear signs of recovery over a very short period of time and this is welcoming news for all but particularly for those whose livelihoods depend on tourism in these destinations,” says UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.