International tourist arrivals grew by seven per cent in 2017 for a total of 1.322 million, with Europe and Africa posting the highest gains, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
According to the UNWTO, this is well above the sustained and consistent trend of four per cent or higher growth since 2010 and represents the strongest results in seven years. Growth for 2018 is expected to continue at a rate of four to five per cent.
Led by Mediterranean destinations, Europe posted eight per cent more international arrivals than in 2016, while Africa consolidated its 2016 rebound with an eight per cent increase. Asia and the Pacific recorded six per cent growth, the Middle East five per cent and the Americas three per cent, where South America lead the way at seven per cent growth and, notably, robust results in Mexico and Canada contrasted with a decrease in the United States.
2017 was characterised by sustained growth in many destinations and a firm recovery in those that suffered decreases in previous years. Results were partly shaped by the global economic upswing and the robust outbound demand from many traditional and emerging source markets, particularly a rebound in tourism spending from Brazil and the Russian Federation after a few years of declines.