According to the latest issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer from the World Tourism Organization, international tourism continued to grow over the first quarter of 2019. Although at a slower rate compared with the last two years — the 4% increase registered in early 2019 is a very positive sign.
The Middle East (+8%) and Asia and the Pacific (+6%) experienced the highest increase in arrivals. Europe and Africa were up by 4%, and the Americas recorded 3% growth.
“The sector continues to outpace the global rate”
“International tourism continues to perform strongly worldwide fuelled by a positive economy, increased air capacity and visa facilitation,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili. “Growth in arrivals is easing slightly after two years of exceptional results, but the sector continues to outpace the global rate of economic growth.”
Recovery and growth
Europe, the world’s largest tourism region, reported solid growth (+4%), led by destinations in Southern and Mediterranean Europe and Central and Eastern Europe (both +5%). Growth in Africa was driven by the ongoing recovery in North Africa (+11%).
In the Americas, the Caribbean (+17%) rebounded strongly after weak results in 2018, following the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria in late 2017. In Asia and the Pacific, results for the first three months showed a 6% increase led by North-East Asia (+9%) and a very solid performance from the Chinese market.
“With this growth comes greater responsibility”
Pololikashvili added: “With this growth comes greater responsibility for translating it into better jobs and better lives. We need to continue investing in innovation, digital transformation and education so that we can harness the many benefits tourism can bring while at the same time mitigating its impact on the environment and society with better management of tourism flows.”
UNWTO forecasts growth of 3% to 4% in international tourist arrivals in 2019.