Sat, Sep 09, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Tourism numbers post biggest first-half rise since 2010

DYNAMIC, RESILIENT:North America posted the slowest growth at only 2 percent due to slowing US arrivals, despite robust Canadian and Mexican data

AFP, MADRID

International tourist numbers grew 6.4 percent in the first half of this year, the strongest half-year figures in seven years, with Mediterranean destinations posting double-digit growth, the UN World Tourism Organisation said on Thursday.

The number of international tourists surged to about 598 million between January and June, about 36 million more than the same period last year, the UN body said in a statement.

Rising business confidence and strong outbound demand from major source markets such as Britain, China, France and the US were behind the rise.

“The first half of 2017 shows healthy growth in an increasingly dynamic and resilient tourism market, including a strong recovery in some of the destinations impacted by security challenges last year,” organization Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said.

Mediterranean destinations reported “particularly strong growth,” including Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, which have suffered terrorist attacks that caused a slump in visitors, the organization said.

Southern and Mediterranean Europe saw a 12 percent rise in international visitors, while North Africa posted a 16 percent rise and the Middle East recorded an increase of 8.9 percent. Tourist arrivals overall in Europe, the world’s most-visited region, grew 7.7 percent.

Africa saw a 7.6 percent rise in visitor numbers, while Asia and the Pacific posted 5.7 percent growth. International arrivals in the Americas were up 3 percent.

Growth was solid in South America, up by 6 percent, while North America saw just 2 percent growth as a decrease in arrivals in the US offset robust results for Canada and Mexico.

In the whole of last year, the number of international tourist arrivals grew by 3.9 percent from the previous year to 1.23 billion. The UN body expects the figure to grow by 3 percent to 4 percent this year.

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