According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism
Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew 4% from January to
June 2019 when compared to the same period last year.
Growth was led by the Middle East (+8%) and Asia and the Pacific
(+6%). International arrivals in Europe grew 4%, while Africa
(+3%) and the Americas (+2%) enjoyed more moderate growth.
Destinations worldwide received 671 million international
tourist arrivals between January and June 2019, almost 30 million
more than in H1 2018 and a continuation of the
growth recorded last year.
The growth in arrivals is returning
to its historic trend and is in line with UNWTO’s forecast of 3%
to 4% growth in international tourist arrivals for the full year
2019, as reported in the January Barometer.
So far, the
drivers of these results have been a strong economy, affordable
air travel, increased air connectivity and enhanced visa
facilitation. However, weaker economic indicators, prolonged
uncertainty about Brexit, trade and technological tensions and
rising geopolitical challenges, have started to take a toll on
business and consumer confidence, as reflected in a more cautious
UNWTO Confidence Index.
Regional Tourism Performance
grew 4% in the first six months of 2019, with a positive first
quarter followed by an above-average second quarter (April: +8%
and June: +6%), reflecting a busy Easter and the start of the
summer season in the world’s most visited region. Intraregional
demand fueled much of this growth, though performance among major
European source markets was uneven, amid weakening economies.
Demand from overseas markets such as the USA, China, Japan and the
countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also contributed
to these positive results.
Asia and the Pacific (+6%)
recorded above world average growth during the January-June 2019
period, largely fueled by Chinese outbound travel. Growth was led
by South Asia and North-East Asia (both +7%), followed by
South-East Asia (+5%), and arrivals in Oceania increased by 1%.
In the Americas (+2%), results improved in the second quarter
after a weak start of the year. The Caribbean (+11%) benefitted
from strong US demand and continued to rebound strongly from the
impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria in late 2017, a challenge
which the region unfortunately faces once again. North America
recorded 2% growth, while Central America (+1%) showed mixed
results. In South America, arrivals were down 5% partly due to a
decline in outbound travel from Argentina which affected
In Africa, limited available data
points to a 3% increase in international arrivals. North Africa
(+9%) continues to show robust results, following two years of
double-digit figures, while growth in Sub-Saharan Africa was flat
The Middle East (+8%) saw two strong quarters,
reflecting a positive winter season, as well as an increase in
demand during Ramadan in May and Eid Al-Fitr in June.
Chinese outbound tourism (+14% in
trips abroad) continued to drive arrivals in many destinations in
the region during the first half of the year though spending on
international travel was 4% lower in real terms in the first
quarter. Trade tensions with the USA as well as the slight
depreciation of the Yuan, may influence destination choice by
Chinese travelers in the short term.
Outbound travel from
the USA, the world’s second largest spender, remained solid (+7%),
supported by a strong dollar
In Europe, spending on international
tourism by France (+8%) and Italy (+7%) was robust, though the
United Kingdom (+3%) and Germany (+2%) reported more moderate
Among the Asian markets, spending from Japan
(+11%) was strong while the Republic of Korea spent 8% less in the
first half of 2019, partly due to the depreciation of the Korean
won. Australia spent 6% more on international tourism.
Russian Federation saw a 4% decline in spending in the first
quarter, following two years of strong rebound. Spending out of
Brazil and Mexico were down 5% and 13% respectively, partly
reflecting the wider situation of the two largest Latin American economies.