Demand for international tourism remained strong during the Northern Hemisphere summer peak season, with arrivals in July and August totalling over 300 million for the first time ever, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Many destinations reported double-digit growth, in particular in the Mediterranean.
Between January and August, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016. This corresponds to a robust 7% increase, well above the growth of previous years. With upbeat prospects for the remaining months of the year, 2017 is set to be the eighth consecutive year of continued solid growth for international tourism.
Results reflect the sustained growth in many destinations combined with the recovery of those suffering from security challenges in recent years.
By UNWTO regions, growth was strongest in Africa (+9%) and Europe (+8%), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+6%), the Middle East (+5%) and the Americas (+3%).
“Tourism is a major economic engine and employment generator, contributing to the improvement of livelihoods of millions of people around the world,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in London, ahead of the World Travel Market.
“As we draw to the end of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, we must reflect on how to manage tourism in a responsible and sustainable way beyond 2017. Maximizing the social and economic benefits of tourism while minimizing any negative impacts on host communities and the environment should remain at the forefront of our efforts in the years to come, with policy-makers, companies and travellers all contributing to this shared objective.”
Most destinations in the Americas (+3%) continued to enjoy positive results, led by South America (+7%), followed by Central America and the Caribbean (both +4%). In North America (+2%), robust results in Mexico and Canada contrast with a decrease in the United States, the region’s largest destination.
Worth noting beyond the top 10 source markets is the significant recovery in demand from the Russian Federation (+27%) and Brazil (+35%) after a few years of declines in tourism expenditure abroad.