International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 6% from January to April 2017 compared to the same period last year, with business confidence reaching its highest levels in a decade, a report said.
Sustained growth in most major destinations and a steady rebound in others drove the results but the prospects for May to August 2017 remain high, reported Wam, the Emirates official news agency.
Destinations around the world received 369 million international tourists, or overnight visitors, during the first four months of the year, 21 million more than in the same months of 2016, or a 6% increase, according to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer.
The January to April period usually represents around 28% of the yearly total, covering the winter season of the Northern Hemisphere and the summer season of the Southern Hemisphere, as well as the Chinese New Year and Easter holidays, among others.
International arrivals reported by tourism destinations around the world were positive overall, with very few exceptions. Most of 2016’s strong performers maintained their momentum while destinations that struggled in previous years continued to rebound during the first part of 2017.
This is especially reflected in the improved results of the Middle East, which is up by 10%, as well as Africa by eight per cent and Europe by six per cent. The results for the Asia-Pacific region was also up by six% while the Americas were up by four per cent, with both continuing to enjoy robust growth.
“Destinations that were affected by negative events during 2016 are showing clear signs of recovery in a very short period of time. This is very welcoming news for all, particularly for those whose livelihoods depend on tourism in these destinations,” said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UNWTO.
“While we celebrate 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, we welcome the continuing development of tourism and recall that with growth comes increased responsibility, to ensure that tourism can contribute to sustainability in all its three pillars, economic, social and environmental. Growth is never the enemy and it is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner,” he added.