The latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer has found that international tourist arrivals grew by six per cent in 2018, reaching a whopping 1.4 billion. In 2010, UNWTO forecast that the 1.4 billion mark would be reached by the year 2020, yet this has been achieved two years early due to the rapid growth of international arrivals. The Barometer found that growth was led by the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Europe, while arrivals to the Americas were below the world average.
“The growth of tourism in recent years confirms that the sector is today one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development. It is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner and translate this expansion into real benefits for all countries and, particularly, to all local communities, creating opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship and leaving no one behind,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
UNTWO believes that the growth was expedited by stronger economic growth, more affordable air travel, technological changes, new business models and greater visa facilitation around the world. It said that it forecasts that international arrivals will grow by three to four per cent in 2019, which is more in line with historic growth trends. Pololikashvili said that UNWTO is focusing 2019 on education, skills and job creation to help manage sustainable growth. He also said that it is important for destinations and companies to adapt in order to remain competitive in today’s market.