A Signature Media Publication

International Tourism on the rise

Demand for international tourism remained strong during the Northern Hemisphere summer peak season. International tourist arrivals in July and August totalled over 300 million for the first-time ever according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Many destinations reported double-digit growth, in particular in the Mediterranean.

Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in 2016. This corresponds to a seven percent increase, well above growth of previous years. With upbeat prospects for remaining months of the year, 2017 is set to be the eighth consecutive year of continued solid growth for international tourism.

Results reflect sustained growth in many destinations combined with recovery of those suffering from security challenges in recent years. By UNWTO regions, growth was strongest in Africa at nine percent and Europe at eight percent, followed by Asia and the Pacific at six percent, the Middle East at five percent and the Americas at three percent.

“Tourism is a major economic engine and employment generator, contributing to improvement of livelihoods of millions of people around the world” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. Maximizing the social and economic benefits of tourism while minimizing any negative impacts on host communities and the environment should remain at the forefront of our efforts in years to come, with policy-makers, companies and travellers all contributing to this shared objective,” added Rifai.

Regional Results

In Europe, international arrivals rebounded in both Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+12%) and Western Europe (+7%) following a weak 2016. Arrivals grew by six percent in Northern Europe and by four percent in Central and Eastern Europe between January and August 2017.

Africa recorded the fastest growth of all five regions, due to the strong rebound in North Africa (+15%) and the sound results of Sub-Saharan Africa at five percent. South Asia which stood at 10 percent led growth in Asia and the Pacific at six percent, followed by South-East Asia at eight percent and Oceania at seven percent, while results in North-East Asia at three percent were rather mixed.

Results in the Middle East are mixed, with some destinations strongly rebounding from negative growth in previous years, while others reported declines through August. Strong outbound demand from major source markets, rebound from Russia and Brazil Inbound visitor growth across world destinations was fuelled by strong outbound demand from the majority of source markets.

Among the top 10 markets, international tourism expenditure grew fastest in China (+19%), the Republic of Korea (+12%), the United States (+8%) and Canada at seven percent. Expenditure from Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy and Hong Kong (China) grew between three to five percent, while France reported a modest one percent increase. Worth noting beyond the top 10 source markets is the significant recovery in demand from the Russian Federation (+27%) and Brazil (+35%) after a few years of declines in tourism expenditure abroad.

6th UNWTO conference in the Philippines

The Philippines is all set to host top tourism officials from 156 countries for the 6th United Nations World Tourism Organization International (UNWTO) conference on tourism statistics next month.

Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said the gathering of tourism ministers, along with their respective entourage, will tackle sustainable tourism, defined by UNWTO as: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, environment, and host communities.”

The DOT head hailed all the tourism ministers and heads of delegations to Manila when she attended the 105th session of the UNWTO Executive Council held in Madrid, Spain earlier this month. The conference will bear the theme “Measuring Sustainable Tourism” and highlight a ministerial roundtable of Tourism Ministers, Environment Ministers, and Chief Statisticians.

The event is scheduled to take place from 21 – 24 June 2017 at the Marriot Hotel Grand Ballroom of the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City. The opening ceremony will be presided by the UNWTO secretary general Dr Taleb Rafai, Wanda Teo, secretary for Socio-Economic Planning of the Philippines, Ernesto M Pernia.

In addition to the government representatives from 156 member countries, expected in attendance will be more than 1,500 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, and tourism associations.


Regional boost for ATM 2017 visitor numbers

Recent statistics revealed by the management of Arabian Travel Market state that a 10% increase is witnessed from visitors in the GCC and an increase of seven percent from international visitors.

This is the second year that visitor numbers crossed the 28,000 mark – marking a 71% increase in visitors over last five years.

Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM, said: “The event has built on its quality year-on-year and professionalism of exhibitors and stands. Exhibition stand contracts signed during ATM 2017 for next year are up 38% year-on-year, with exhibitors keen to reserve their space for the 25th anniversary.”

The 2017 edition had representations from 87 countries and over 100 new exhibitors making their debut. The number of countries represented at ATM 2017, taken from all attendees, totalled 157.

The UNWTO and ATM Ministerial Forum was attended by more than 20 government ministers and global leaders. The Forum touched upon key priorities for the region’s tourism industry that include human resources development, public/private sector cooperation, connectivity, technology and sustainability.

“Despite all external shocks, the Middle East and North Africa tell one of tourism’s biggest success stories. A story that brings an immense opportunity to make tourism a pillar of economic diversification, job creation and sustainable development in this region” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Other popular features included the Wellness and Spa Lounge, Travel Agents’ Academy, Buyers’ Club and the Bloggers’ Speed Networking events. Responsible tourism, which played a huge part in the show and continues to be at the forefront, has appropriately been named the theme for 2018.