Global Tourism Statis­tics: Jan-Apr 2017

Strong re­sults in the first part of 2017

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - Use­ful links: UNWTO World Tourism Barom­e­ter UNWTO Tourism High­lights, 2016 Edi­tion In­fo­graph­ics

In­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals world­wide grew by 6% in Jan­uary-April of 2017 com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, with busi­ness con­fi­dence reach­ing its high­est lev­els in a decade. Sus­tained growth in most ma­jor des­ti­na­tions and a steady re­bound in oth­ers drove re­sults. Prospects for May-Au­gust 2017 re­main high.

Des­ti­na­tions world­wide re­ceived 369 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional tourists (overnight vis­i­tors) in the first four months of the year, 21 mil­lion more than in the same months of 2016 (+6%), ac­cord­ing to the lat­est UNWTO World Tourism Barom­e­ter. The Jan­uary-April pe­riod usu­ally rep­re­sents some 28% of the yearly to­tal and cov­ers the win­ter sea­son of the North­ern Hemi­sphere and the sum­mer sea­son of the South­ern Hemi­sphere, as well as the Chi­nese New Year and Easter hol­i­days, among oth­ers.

In­ter­na­tional ar­rivals re­ported by des­ti­na­tions around the world were pos­i­tive over­all, with very few ex­cep­tions. Most of 2016's strong per­form­ers main­tained mo­men­tum, while des­ti­na­tions that strug­gled in pre­vi­ous years con­tin­ued to re­bound in the first part of 2017. This is es­pe­cially re­flected in the bet­ter re­sults of the Mid­dle East (+10%), Africa (+8%) and Europe (+6%). Asia and the Pa­cific (6%) and the Amer­i­cas (+4%) con­tin­ued to en­joy ro­bust growth.

“Des­ti­na­tions that were af­fected by neg­a­tive events dur­ing 2016 are show­ing clear signs of re­cov­ery in a very short pe­riod of time, and this is very wel­com­ing news for all, but par­tic­u­larly for those whose liveli­hoods de­pend on tourism in these des­ti­na­tions,” said UNWTO Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral Taleb Ri­fai.

“As we cel­e­brate 2017 as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment, we wel­come the con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment of tourism and re­call that with growth comes in­creased re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure tourism can con­trib­ute to sus­tain­abil­ity in all its three pil­lars – eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal. Growth is never the en­emy and it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to man­age it in a sus­tain­able man­ner,” he added.

Re­gional Re­sults

In­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in Europe (+6%) re­bounded in Jan­uary-April af­ter mixed re­sults last year, as con­fi­dence re­turned to some des­ti­na­tions that were im­pacted by se­cu­rity in­ci­dents, while oth­ers con­tin­ued to grow strongly. Re­sults im­proved par­tic­u­larly in South­ern Mediter­ranean Europe

(+9% as com­pared to +1% in 2016) and Western Europe (+4% as op­posed to +0% in 2016). North­ern Europe (+9%) con­tin­ued to record strong growth, while Cen­tral and Eastern Europe recorded 4% more in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals, in line with re­sults of last year.

In Asia and the Pa­cific, in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals were up 6% through April with sound re­sults across all four sub­re­gions. South Asia (+14%) led growth, fol­lowed by Ocea­nia (+7%), South-East Asia (+6%) and North­East Asia (+5%).

In­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in the Amer­i­cas were up 4% with strong re­sults in South Amer­ica and Cen­tral Amer­ica (both +7%), while ar­rivals in North Amer­ica grew by 3% and in the Caribbean by 2%.

Lim­ited data avail­able for Africa points to an 8% in­crease in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals, with North Africa (+18%) re­cov­er­ing strongly. In­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in the Mid­dle East re­bounded by an es­ti­mated 10% fol­low­ing a 4% de­cline in 2016.

Pos­i­tive prospects for May-Au­gust

The cur­rent strong mo­men­tum is re­flected in the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Ex­perts con­fi­dence in­dex, based on eval­u­a­tions and prospects of world­wide ex­perts sur­veyed ev­ery four months since 2003. Ex­perts eval­u­ated tourism per­for­mance in the first four months of 2017 with the high­est score in 12 years, clearly ex­ceed­ing their al­ready pos­i­tive ex­pec­ta­tions from the start of the pe­riod. Re­sponses to the sur­vey were strong­est from Europe, in line with the re­bound in ar­rivals.

Ex­perts also show strong con­fi­dence in the cur­rent May-Au­gust pe­riod, as their prospects are the most op­ti­mistic in a decade, also driven by up­beat ex­pec­ta­tions in Europe. The May-Au­gust pe­riod in­cludes the peak tourism sea­son in most of the world's ma­jor tourism des­ti­na­tions and source mar­kets.

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