Int’l tourist travels sees 4% rise to hit 1.2bn in 2016

Posted: February 22, 2017 in general

International tourist figure rose by four percent globally to 1.2 billion in 2016, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

This marked the seventh consecutive year of growth since 2009, when global tourism figures declined four percent as the financial crisis and an outbreak of swine flu saw cash-strapped people stay at home.

UNWTO also confirmed that the number of people living in Asia and discovering both their own region and the rest of the world rose eight percent compared to 2015.

The Asia-Pacific area, meanwhile, proved a popular destination—the second most visited region after Europe.

UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai said that the results in Europe were “very mixed,”; while some areas remained scantily visited, others received “a double-digit growth rate and some others a flat rate.”

The body also confirmed that the Americas registered a growth of four percent in visitor numbers.

Africa, meanwhile, recovered from a sharp drop in 2015 due to security fears, recording an eight percent growth. The Middle-East, however, saw a four percent drop in the arrival of tourists.

Rifai refused to give a much-anticipated ranking of the most visited countries, saying this would be unveiled at a later date.

In 2015, France ranked number one, followed by the United States and Spain. However, France has been hard hit by extremist attacks in the past two years, and there are fears this has impacted tourist arrivals. The major drop in Paris tourism took place after the terror attack in November 2015, killing 130 people. Frederic Valletoux, the tourism chief for the Paris region, admitted that the area hadn’t recovered, and that the impact was “lasting and completely unprecedented.”

Tourism represents 10% of global GDP, 7% of international trade and 30% of service exports, according to the WTO. Emphasizing how crucial it is worldwide, one in every 11 jobs comes from tourism, if direct and indirect posts are taken into account.

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