In 2016, tourism accounted for seven per cent of the world’s exports, or US$1.4 trillion, after increasing one percentage point and outpacing the growth of world trade for the fifth year running, according to the latest UNWTO Tourism Highlights report.
International tourist arrivals increased 3.9 per cent to hit nearly 1.2 billion worldwide in 2016. The growth is led by Asia-Pacific, which recorded a nine per cent increase in international arrivals, followed by Africa (+eight per cent) and the Americas (+three per cent).
The world’s most visited region, Europe (+two per cent) showed mixed results, while available data for the Middle East (-four per cent) points to a decline in arrivals.
France, the US, Spain and China continued to top the international arrivals ranking in 2016. In receipts, the US and Spain remain at the top, followed by Thailand and China in third and fourth place.
Meanwhile, international tourism receipts grew 2.6 per cent in real terms with total earnings in the destinations estimated at US$1.2 trillion worldwide in 2016.
France and Italy moved up in receipts to fifth and sixth position respectively, while the UK, Mexico and Thailand moved up to sixth, eighth and ninth place in arrivals.
According to projections in UNWTO’s Tourism Towards 2030 report, between 2010 and 2030, arrivals in emerging destinations (+4.4 per cent a year) are expected to increase at twice the rate of those in advanced economies (+2.2 per cent a year).
The market share of emerging economies increased from 30 per cent in 1980 to 45 per cent in 2016, and is expected to reach 57 per cent by 2030, equivalent to over one billion international tourist arrivals.