International Tourist Arrivals Reach 1.4 billion worldwide: Two Years Ahead of Forecasts by UNWTO

The UNWTO has just published the January 2019 issue of its World Tourism Barometer, which regularly monitors tourism trends, which includes surprising data on the tourist arrivals.

(Rome, 29 January 2019) “The growth of tourism in recent years confirms that the sector is today one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development. It is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner and translate this expansion into real benefits for all countries, and particularly, to all local communities, creating opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship and leaving no one behind” said Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO - World Tourism Organization of the United Nations. Pololikashvili also insisted on the necessity for the tourism sector to adapt to current changes such as the digitalization and new business models.

The use of digital technologies and adoption of different models of management are relevant also to different projects of the Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism Community aim at, joining forces in building a more sustainable tourism within the Mediterranean basin. To quote only a few, the CASTWATER project, for example, aims at supporting sustainable tourism policies and practices on water efficiency in coastal areas, and the MITOMED+ project promotes the integrated management of Maritime and Coastal tourism in the Mediterranean.

In 2018, International Tourists Arrivals reached 1.4 billion, representing a 6% growth compared to 2017, therefore ranking as the second best year since 2010. This number represents a significant advance in terms of International Tourist Arrivals compared to the 2010 prevision, that only estimated such number to be reached by 2020. Geographically wise, the report analyzed such arrivals to include 713 million international arrivals in Europe, 67 million in Africa and 64 million in the Middle East.

The international tourist arrivals growth has been made possible thanks to drivers of growth identified by the UNWTO such as a favorable economic environment, strong outbound demand from major source markets, consolidation of the recovery in key destinations affected by previous crises, enhanced connectivity and increased visa facilitation.

As per 2019, the report foresees an increase of up to 4%, accompanied by a more responsible travel.

Created in November 2016 within the framework of the Interreg MED Programme, the MED Sustainable Tourism Community gathers 18 territorial cooperation projects co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and almost 200 organisations (public authorities, private companies, universities, NGOs and international organisations) active in twelve European-Mediterranean coastal areas.

Most notably, the Community’s members are leading the development of common tools to monitor the tourism industry, they are studying and testing new tourism models and they are actively engaging policy makers and managers in a constant dialogue to make tourism a real driver for sustainable development.

You can access the full report here.

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