UNWTO reports that international tourism (overnight visits) grew by 5.3% between January and April 2016 according to their World Tourism Barometer.
If that trend continues, 2016 will be the 7th consecutive year of above-average growth.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifa said:
“Results show a strong desire to travel and this continues to drive tourism growth. Destinations keep benefitting from solid demand across all world regions despite ongoing challenges, showing that tourism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector. Yet, despite these good results, the tragic events of recent months remind us that safety and security remain a major challenge for all. We must continue to work closely together to address this global threat and ensure tourism is an integral part of emergency planning and response at global, regional and national level.”
Results by region:
- Asia - Pacific: +9%
- Africa: +7% (although visits to North Africa were down 8% - perhaps understandably)
- Americas: +6% (largely driven by strong outbound demand from the USA)
- Europe: +4%
- Middle East: estimated at -7%
Projections for the balance of 2016
UNWTO estimates that about 500M tourists will travel internationally during the May-August northern hemisphere peak summer travel season - about a 41% share of the annual total. Confidence is highest for Europe, followed by Americas.
"The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union in the recent referendum...has raised uncertainty in the market and led to a substantial depreciation of the UK pound Sterling. However, UNWTO does not expect this to have a significant impact on international travel in the short term."