International tourist arrivals grew by 4% in the first half of 2015 :UNWTO

The number of international tourist arrivals grew by 4% in the first half of 2015 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Destinations worldwide received some 538 million international tourists between January and June 2015, an increase of 21 million compared to the same period of 2014.

Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East all recorded 5% growth in international arrivals and the Americas 4%. Limited data available for Africa points to an estimated 6% decrease in the number of international tourists in the region. At the subregional level, the Caribbean and Oceania (both +7%) were the best performers, together with Central and Eastern Europe and Central America (both +6%).

In spite of this overall growth, results by destination are rather mixed. Safety and security remain a global concern while the economic scenario is comparatively more volatile with the recovery of advanced economies contrasting with the slowdown of emerging economies. Tourism demand has also been impacted by lower oil prices and currency fluctuations.

“These results show that, despite increased volatility, tourism continues to consolidate the positive performance it has had over the last five years and to provide development and economic opportunities worldwide,” said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General.

“As UNWTO prepares to meet in Medellin, Colombia, for its 21st General Assembly, this is the appropriate moment to call for a stronger support to tourism as the sector has the potential to deliver on some of the most pressing challenges of our time, namely job creation, economic growth and social inclusion,” he added.

According to the UNWTO forecast issued at the beginning of 2015, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 3% to 4% worldwide for the whole year, in line with the long-term forecast of an average growth of 3.8% a year set for the period 2010 to 2020. In terms of outbound tourism, data for the first quarters of 2015 shows a diverse picture in spending abroad.

Among the emerging markets, China and India both started the year with double-digit growth in the first quarter, while expenditure from the Russian Federation and Brazil reflected the slower economic growth in both markets and the depreciation of the rouble and the real against the US dollar and the euro.

As for the traditional advanced economy source markets, demand from the United States, France, Sweden and Spain remains strong, while it is weaker in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada. (source-Google)

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