International tourist arrivals reach seven-year high

TravellingInternational tourist arrivals hit a seven-year high in 2017 to total 1.3 billion, according to figures from the UN World Tourism Organisation.

Global numbers grew by 7% last year and experts expect the strong growth to carry on into 2018 at a rate of around 4% or 5%.

Africa is expected to see the highest growth per region of around 5% to 7%, while both Europe and the Americas could expect to see an increase of around 3.5% to 4.5%.

During 2017, Europe recorded ‘extraordinary results’, with 8% more international arrivals recorded than in 2016, taking the total figure to 671 million.

A large part of the growth is down to the success of destinations around Mediterranean Europe, including the likes of Seville, Granada and parts of Greece, as they all recorded a 13% rise in arrivals.

More than 207 million international tourists visited the Americas last year, with both Mexico and Canada recording strong growth, however, perhaps surprisingly, the number of tourist arrivals to the USA decreased.

Spain recently overtook the US to become the second most-visited country in the world, following the surge in European tourism.

The strong growth seen across the tourism industry has been put down to strong economic improvement, while areas such as Brazil have seen more interest in outbound travel.

The UNWTO said: “The current strong momentum is expected to continue in 2018, though at a more sustainable pace after eight years of steady expansion following the 2009 economic and financial crisis.”

Despite the strong growth across the board, UNWTO’s secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, believes it is vital that the tourism industry continues to work together to progress, especially when it comes to areas such as sustainability.

If you are planning on travelling overseas this year, make sure you organise your travel insurance in advance.

Date Created: 17 January 2018

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