In­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals up four per cent in the first half of 2016

Jamaica Gleaner - - HOSPITALITY JAM -

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL TOURIST ar­rivals world­wide grew by four per cent be­tween Jan­uary and June 2016 com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Des­ti­na­tions world­wide re­ceived 561 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional tourists (overnight visi­tors), 21 mil­lion more than in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est UNWTO World Tourism Barom­e­ter.

Asia and the Pa­cific demon­strated re­newed strength this first half of 2016, re­ceiv­ing nine per cent more in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals, the high­est growth across world re­gions.

Led by Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, which saw an in­crease of four per cent in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals the Amer­i­cas, des­ti­na­tions such as Europe (+3 per cent) showed mixed re­sults, with solid growth in many coun­tries off­set by weaker per­for­mance in oth­ers.

In Africa (+5 per cent), Sub­Sa­ha­ran des­ti­na­tions re­bounded strongly, while North Africa con­tin­ued to report weak re­sults. Limited data for the Mid­dle East points to an es­ti­mated de­crease of nine per cent in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals this six-month pe­riod, though re­sults vary from des­ti­na­tion to des­ti­na­tion.

“Tourism has proven to be one of the most re­silient eco­nomic sec­tors world­wide. It is cre­at­ing jobs for mil­lions at a time when pro­vid­ing per­spec­tives for a bet­ter fu­ture to peo­ple of all re­gions is one of our big­gest chal­lenges. But tourism is also cre­at­ing bonds among peo­ple of all na­tions and back­grounds, bring­ing down stereo­types and fight­ing fear and dis­trust,” said UNWTO Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Taleb Ri­fai.

“Safety and se­cu­rity are key pil­lars of tourism de­vel­op­ment, and we need to strengthen our com­mon ac­tion to build a safe, se­cure and seam­less travel frame­work. This is no time to build walls or point fin­gers; it is time to build an al­liance based on a shared vi­sion and a joint re­spon­si­bil­ity,” he added.

RE­GIONAL RE­SULTS

Growth ac­cel­er­ated in Asia and the Pa­cific with in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals up nine per cent through June, driven by ro­bust in­trare­gional demand. Ocea­nia (+10 per cent) led growth, fol­lowed by North-East Asia, South­East Asia (both +9 per cent) and South Asia (+7 per cent).

In­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals to Europe grew by three per cent be­tween Jan­uary and June 2016, with mixed re­sults across des­ti­na­tions. North­ern, Cen­tral and Eastern Europe both recorded five per cent more in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals. Though many des­ti­na­tions posted pos­i­tive re­sults, growth in both West­ern Europe (+1 per cent) and South­ern Mediter­ranean Europe (+2 per cent) was slow.

In­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in the Amer­i­cas were up four per cent in the first half of the year, in line with the world av­er­age. Strong US out­bound flows con­tin­ued to ben­e­fit many des­ti­na­tions across the re­gion. Cen­tral Amer­ica and South Amer­ica (both +6 per cent) led growth, while ar­rivals in both the Caribbean and North Amer­ica grew by four per cent.

Com­par­a­tively limited data avail­able for Africa points to a five per cent in­crease in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals, with Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa (+12 per cent) re­cov­er­ing vig­or­ously, but North Africa down by nine per cent. In­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in the Mid­dle East de­creased by an es­ti­mated nine per cent, with mixed re­sults among des­ti­na­tions.

POS­I­TIVE PROSPECTS FOR THE SEC­OND HALF OF THE YEAR

The first half of the year typ­i­cally ac­counts for around 46 per cent of the to­tal in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals count of the year. For the re­main­der of 2016 prospects are pos­i­tive over­all. Coun­tries that have al­ready re­ported re­sults un­til July or Au­gust show con­tin­ued growth in the cur­rent North­ern Hemisphere sum­mer peak sea­son. The UNWTO Panel of Ex­perts eval­u­ated the pe­riod May-Au­gust also favourably and re­mains con­fi­dent about the Septem­ber-De­cem­ber pe­riod, in line with the trend of the first half of the year. Con­fi­dence is high­est in Africa, the Amer­i­cas and Asia and the Pa­cific, while ex­perts in Europe and the Mid­dle East are some­what more cau­tious.

DEMAND FOR TRAVEL VARIES ACROSS SOURCE MAR­KETS

China, the world’s top source mar­ket, con­tin­ues to report dou­bledigit growth in ex­pen­di­ture on in­ter­na­tional travel (+20 per cent in the first quar­ter of 2016), ben­e­fit­ing des­ti­na­tions in the re­gion and be­yond. The United States, the world’s sec­ond-largest mar­ket, in­creased ex­pen­di­ture on out­bound travel by eight per cent through July, thanks to a strong cur­rency. Third-largest mar­ket, Ger­many, re­ported a four per cent in­crease in ex­pen­di­ture through July. Other mar­kets that showed ro­bust demand for out­bound travel in the first half of 2016 were Spain (+20 per cent), Nor­way (+11 per cent), Aus­tralia (+10 per cent) and Ja­pan (+6 per cent). Mean­while, ex­pen­di­ture from the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion and Brazil con­tin­ues to be weak, re­flect­ing the eco­nomic con­straints and de­pre­ci­ated cur­ren­cies in both mar­kets.

Visi­tors to the is­land en­joy­ing the sun­shine on the streets of Mon­tego Bay.

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