UNWTO: Middle East tops international tourism in H1 2017

UNWTO: Middle East tops international tourism in H1 2017

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Visitor numbers reported by destinations around the world reflect strong demand for international travel in the first half of 2017, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Worldwide, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 6% compared to the same six-month period last year, well above the sustained and consistent trend of four percent or higher growth since 2010. This represents the strongest half-year in seven years.

Results are underpinned by robust growth in many destinations and a continuation of the recovery in those that suffered declines in previous years. Of UNWTO regions, growth was strongest in the Middle East (+nine percent), Europe (+eight percent) and Africa (+eight percent), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+six percent) and the Americas (+three percent).

The first half of the year usually accounts for about 46 percent of total annual international arrivals, with the second half longer by three days and including the Northern Hemisphere high season months of July and August.      

“The first half of 2017 shows healthy growth in an increasingly dynamic and resilient tourism market, including a strong recovery in some of the destinations impacted by security challenges last year”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai ahead of the 22nd session of the UNWTO General Assembly, to be held in Chengdu, China on 13-16 September 2017.

Mediterranean destinations reported particularly strong growth in the first half of 2017, as reflected in the results for Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+12 percent), North Africa (+16 percent) and the Middle East (+nine percent). This trend is driven by the continued strength of many destinations in the area, combined with a significant rebound in destinations that suffered decreases in previous years, such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.

Furthermore, international tourist arrivals through June grew eight percent in Northern Europe, six percent in Western Europe and four percent in Central and Eastern Europe. Sub-Saharan Africa recorded four percent more arrivals.

Results are underpinned by robust growth in many destinations and a continuation of the recovery in those that suffered declines in previous years.         


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