DESTINATIONS worldwide welcomed 5.3% more international tourists during the first four months of the year than for the same period in 2015, reports the UN's World Tourism Organization ( UNWTO) in its World Tourism Barometer. A total of 348 million international tourists travelled the globe during this time.
There's no sign of crisis in the global tourism sector. In 2015, international tourist arrivals – defined as visitors who spend at least one night at their destination – grew by 4.6% worldwide. In fact, yearly increases of at least 4% have been recorded since 2009. "Results show a strong desire to travel and this continues to drive tourism growth. Destinations keep benefitting from solid demand across all world regions despite ongoing challenges, showing that tourism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector," said UNWTO secretary- general Taleb Rifai.
With the summer getaway now in full swing, 500 million international tourists are expected to jet off on jaunts between May and August. Indeed, the upward trend looks set to continue in 2016 with a forecast 3.5% to 4.5% increase in international tourist arrivals. This falls in line with the UNWTO's long- term projection of 3.8% growth per year from 2010 to 2020.
Asia and the Pacific saw 9% growth in international tourist arrivals since the beginning of the year, with growth of around 7% for all Asian subregions. South- East Asia, driven by the popularity of Thailand, as well as Oceania, both welcomed 10% more international tourists.
Africa takes second place, showing the next strongest growth in international tourist arrivals, up 7%. This is the result of a rebound in visitors to Sub- Saharan Africa (+ 13%) rather than North Africa, which is suffering the effects of the current geopolitical situation ( minus 8%).
Over the Atlantic, Central and South America lead the way, each with a 7% increase in international arrivals.
The Old Continent is still the world's most visited region, according to UNWTO's data. In spite of the heightened terror threat, Europe still recorded 4% growth in international tourist arrivals since the beginning of the year.
Northern, Central and Eastern Europe lead the way with 6% growth all round, whereas Western Europe showed the slowest growth, at 3%.
For malindo Air passengers to medan, views such as this await at scenic Lake toba. — Filepic
Countries in South- East Asia, such as thailand, welcomed 10% more international tourists in the first four months of the year. — AFp