UNWTO: Tourism demand remains strong despite challenges

UNWTO: Tourism demand remains strong despite challenges

Demand for international tourism remained robust in 2016 despite challenges.

International tourist arrivals grew by 3.9 per cent to reach a total of 1,235 million, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Some 46 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled internationally last year compared to 2015.

Last year was the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis.

A comparable sequence of uninterrupted solid growth has not been recorded since the 1960s.

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As a result, 300 million more international tourists travelled the world in 2016 as compared to the pre-crisis record in 2008.

“Tourism has shown extraordinary strength and resilience in recent years, despite many challenges, particularly those related to safety and security.

“Yet, international travel continues to grow strongly and contribute to job creation and the wellbeing of communities around the world,” said UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai.

Recalling that 2017 has been designated by the United Nations the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, Rifai added: “We need to work closer together to harness the contribution of tourism to economic growth, social inclusion, cultural and environmental preservation and mutual understanding, particularly when we live in times with such a deficit of respect and tolerance.”