High pas­sage

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TRAVEL -

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

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