International tourist arrivals reach 1.4 billion two years ahead of forecasts
YEREVAN, JANUARY 22, ARMENPRESS. International tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totaling 1.4 billion according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. UNWTO’s long term forecast issued in 2010 indicated the 1.4 billion mark would be reached in 2020, yet the remarkable growth of international arrivals in recent years has brought it two years ahead, RIA Novosti reports.
In relative terms, the Middle East (+10%), Africa (+7%), Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +6%) led growth in 2018. Arrivals to the Americas were below the world average (+3%).
International tourist arrivals in Europe reached 713 million in 2018. Asia and the Pacific (+6%) recorded 343 million international tourist arrivals in 2018. The Americas (+3%) welcomed 217 million international arrivals in 2018, with mixed results across destinations. Data from Africa points to a 7% increase in 2018 (North Africa at +10% and Sub-Saharan +6%), reaching an estimated 67 million arrivals.
“The growth of tourism in recent years confirms that the sector is today one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development”, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. “This is why UNWTO is focusing 2019 on education, skills and job creation”, he added.
According to him, yet stronger economic growth, more affordable air travel, technological changes, new businesses models and greater visa facilitation around the word have accelerated growth in recent years.
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan