According to the latest edition of the UN World Tourism Organisation’s Tourism Highlights, international tourism arrivals hit record highs of 1,323 million in 2017.
As well as representing an increase of 84 million compared with results from 2016, and the eighth consecutive year of sustained growth, this figure also represents the biggest increase in international arrivals seen since 2010. Total international tourism receipts for the year were worth US$1,340 billion (an increase of five per cent from the year before), and a few major drivers were noted, particularly the recovery of various source markets, including Brazil and the Russian Federation. Sustained travel demand across all regions, fuelled by a general global economic upswing, was also a major factor.
Tourism represents the third largest global export category, generating an additional $240 billion from international passenger transport services on top of the $1,340 billion in receipts. The biggest growth in receipts was seen in the Middle East, while subregions such as South Asia and North Africa also performed strongly. The most popular destinations were France, Spain, the US, China, Italy, Mexico, the UK, Turkey, Germany and Thailand.
Thusfar, according to the UNWTO, 2018 has seen growth persist, ‘with a year-on-year increase of six per cent in arrivals between January and April’.