Destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals in the January-August period this year, up seven per cent from the same period of 2016 and marking the eighth consecutive year of continued growth for international tourism, according to preliminary findings from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Growth in arrivals was strongest in Africa (+nine per cent) and Europe (+eight per cent), followed by Asia-Pacific (+six per cent), the Middle East (+five per cent) and the Americas (+three per cent).
In Asia-Pacific, South Asia (+10 per cent) led growth, followed by South-east Asia (+eight per cent) and Oceania (+seven per cent), while results in North-east Asia (+three per cent) were rather mixed, the barometer showed.
Europe saw international arrivals rebound in both Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+12 per cent) and Western Europe (+seven per cent) following a weak 2016. Arrivals grew by six per cent in Northern Europe and by four per cent in Central and Eastern Europe between January and August 2017.
Africa recorded the fastest growth of all five regions, thanks to the strong rebound in North Africa (+15 per cent) and the sound results of Sub-Saharan Africa (+five per cent).
Most destinations in the Americas (+three per cent) continued to enjoy positive results, led by South America (+seven per cent), followed by Central America and the Caribbean (both +four per cent). In North America (+two per cent), robust results in Mexico and Canada contrast with a decrease in the US, the region’s largest destination.
Seeing more mixed results is the Middle East (+five per cent), with some destinations strongly recovering from negative growth in previous years, while others reported declines through August.
Turning to the top 10 outbound markets, international tourism expenditure grew fastest in China (+19 per cent), South Korea (+12 per cent), the US (+eight per cent) and Canada (+seven per cent).
Worth noting beyond the top 10 source markets is the significant recovery in demand from Russian (+27 per cent) and Brazil (+35 per cent) after a few years of declines in tourism expenditure abroad.