ST PETERSBURG 11 September 2019 –
International tourist arrivals grew 4% from January to June 2019, compared to
the same period last year, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism
Barometer published ahead of the 23rd World Tourism Organization General
Assembly.

Growth was led by the Middle East (+8%) and
Asia and the Pacific (+6%). International arrivals in Europe grew 4%, while
Africa (+3%) and the Americas (+2%) enjoyed more moderate growth.

Destinations worldwide received 671 million
international tourist arrivals between January and June 2019, almost 30 million
more than in the same period of 2018 and a continuation of the growth recorded
last year.


Growth in arrivals is returning to its historical trend and is in line with UNWTO’s forecast of 3% to 4% growth in international tourist arrivals for the full year 2019, as reported in the January Barometer.

So far, the drivers of these results have
been a strong economy, affordable air travel, increased air connectivity and
enhanced visa facilitation. However, weaker economic indicators, prolonged uncertainty
about Brexit, trade and technological tensions and rising geopolitical
challenges, have started to take a toll on business and consumer confidence, as
reflected in a more cautious UNWTO Confidence Index.

Regional Performance

Europe grew 4% in the first six months of
2019, with a positive first quarter followed by an above-average second quarter
(April: +8% and June: +6%), reflecting a busy Easter and the start of the
summer season in the world’s most visited region. Intraregional demand fuelled
much of this growth, though performance among major European source markets was
uneven, amid weakening economies. Demand from overseas markets such as the USA,
China, Japan and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also
contributed to these positive results.

Asia and the Pacific (+6%) recorded
above-average world growth during the January-June 2019 period, largely fuelled
by Chinese outbound travel. Growth was led by South Asia and North-East Asia
(both +7%), followed by South-East Asia (+5%), and arrivals in Oceania
increased by 1%.

In the Americas (+2%), results improved in
the second quarter after a weak start of the year. The Caribbean (+11%)
benefitted from strong US demand and continued to rebound strongly from the
impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria in late 2017, a challenge that the region,
unfortunately, faces once again. North America recorded 2% growth, while
Central America (+1%) showed mixed results. In South America, arrivals were
down 5% partly due to a decline in outbound travel from Argentina, which
affected neighbouring destinations.

In Africa, limited available data points to
a 3% increase in international arrivals. North Africa (+9%) continues to show
robust results, following two years of double-digit figures, while growth in
Sub-Saharan Africa was flat (+0%).

The Middle East (+8%) saw two strong
quarters, reflecting a positive winter season, as well as an increase in demand
during Ramadan in May and Eid Al-Fitr in June. 

Source Markets – mixed results amid trade tensions

Performance has been uneven across major
tourism outbound markets.

Chinese outbound tourism (+14% in trips
abroad) continued to drive arrivals in many destinations in the region during
the first half of the year though spending on international travel was 4% lower
in real terms in the first quarter. Trade tensions with the USA as well as the
slight depreciation of the yuan may influence destination choice by Chinese travellers
in the short term.

Outbound travel from the USA, the world’s second-largest spender, remained solid (+7%), supported by a strong dollar. In Europe,  tourism spending trends by France (+8%) and Italy (+7%) were robust, though the United Kingdom (+3%) and Germany (+2%) reported more moderate figures.

Among the Asian markets, spending from
Japan (+11%) was strong while the Republic of Korea spent 8% less in the first
half of 2019, partly due to the depreciation of the Korean won. Australia spent
6% more on international tourism.

The Russian Federation saw a 4% decline in
spending in the first quarter, following two years of a strong rebound.
Spending out of Brazil and Mexico were down 5% and 13% respectively, partly
reflecting the wider situation of the two largest Latin American
economies.
(Source: UNWTO Confidence Index)



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