Global tourist numbers up 4%

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said 956 million people travelled to other countries worldwide from January to September. Demand is seen as ‘robust.’

São Paulo – The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported this Monday (7) that 956 million people took international trips from January to September 2016, a 4% increase over January to September 2015. The numbers are from the World Tourism Barometer report.

According to the UNWTO, international demand remains “robust,” but tourism grows slower now than it did early on in the year. “Tourism is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economic sectors but it is also very sensitive to risks,” said UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai in a press release.

Those risks, he went on, are both actual and perceived. “No destination is immune to risks. We need to increase cooperation in addressing these global threats, namely those related to safety and security,” he said. Although most destinations are posting good numbers, some still struggle with “negative events.”

A case in point is the Middle East. According to the UNWTO, the region saw tourist numbers drop by 6% from January to September from the year-ago period. The organization noted, however, that results in the Middle East and North Africa began to improve in the second half of the year.

Asia and the Pacific were the fastest-growing destinations, with a 9% increase. International traveller numbers were up 8% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 4% in the Americas, topped by South America with 7%, Central America with 6% and North America with 4%; and arrivals grew by 2% in Europe.

Chinese international travellers topped the ranking of the world’s ten biggest tourist sources expenditure-wise, with a 19% increase, followed by the United Kingdom at 10%, the United States, Australia and South Korea at 9% each, Germany at 5%, and France and Italy at 3% each. Canadian tourists spent 2% less and spending by Russian tourists slid 37%.

Apart from those top ten spenders, expenditure by Egyptian tourists was up 38%; spending also increased by travellers from Argentina (27%), Spain (19%), India (16%), Thailand (15%), Ukraine (15%), Ireland (12%) and Norway(11%). The UNWTO says industry experts are confident about the rest of the year, particularly in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, but cautious regarding Europe and the Middle East.


*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum