Global tourism re­mains buoy­ant

East African Business Week - - TOURISM -

MADRID, Spain---des­ti­na­tions around the world wel­comed 956 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional tourists be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber 2016, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est United Na­tions World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNWTO) World Tourism Barom­e­ter.

The fig­ure rep­re­sents an in­crease of four per cent – 34 mil­lion – on the same pe­riod in 2015.

In Africa (+8%), 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% de­crease in ar­rivals, though re­sults vary from des­ti­na­tion to des­ti­na­tion. Re­sults started to grad­u­ally im­prove in the sec­ond half of the year in North Africa and the Mid­dle East.

The lat­est sta­tis­tics show that de­mand for in­ter­na­tional tourism re­mained ro­bust in the first nine months of 2016, al­beit grow­ing at a more mod­er­ate pace. Af­ter a strong start to the year, growth was slower in the sec­ond quar­ter but picked up again in the third. While most des­ti­na­tions re­ported en­cour­ag­ing re­sults, oth­ers con­tin­ued to strug­gle with the im­pact of neg­a­tive events, ei­ther in their country or their re­gion.

Taleb Ri­fai, UNWTO Sec­re­tary-gen­eral, said in a state­ment, “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 min­imise risks, re­spond ef­fec­tively and build con­fi­dence among trav­ellers.”

He 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,” he said.

Asia and the Pa­cific led growth across world re­gions, with in­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals (overnight vis­i­tors) up 9% through Septem­ber. All four sub­re­gions shared in this growth.

Many des­ti­na­tions re­ported dou­ble-digit growth, in­clud­ing the Repub­lic of Korea (+34%), Viet­nam (+36%), Ja­pan (+24%) and Sri Lanka (+15%).

In Europe, in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals grew by 2% be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber 2016, with solid growth in most des­ti­na­tions. 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% and Cen­tral and Eastern Europe by 5% while re­sults were weaker in West­ern Europe (-1%) and South­ern Mediter­ranean Europe (+0%).

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

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. UNWTO

RE­SILIENT: Ri­fai said the sec­tor must con­tinue to work to­gether with gov­ern­ments and other stake­hold­ers to min­imise the risks.

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