The eastward shift is pushing the increase of international arrivals in the first nine months of the year

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, destinations globally welcomed 956 million tourists between January and September 2016, 34 million more tourists yoy and with nearly an increase of 4%. The impact of negative events around the world influenced the incoming of tourists. Ahead of the Ministerial Meeting on Safe, Secure and Seamless Travel which was held at the World Travel Market in London on 9th of November, Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) stated that, in this case, in order to improve the image of the countries, governments and stakeholders must work together to minimise risks and rebuild trust among travellers.

Considering regional results, Asia and Pacific recorded international tourist arrivals’ growth up to 9% in September, with many destinations that registered a double-digit growth, such as the Republic of Korea (36%), Vietnam (26%), Japan (24%) and Sri Lanka (15%).

Despite the international scenario, Europe recorded an increase of 2%. Looking at European regions, Northern Europe (6%) and Central and Eastern Europe (5%) performed well, while South Mediterranean Europe recorded a static situation (+0%) and Western Europe lost in international arrivals (-1%). Analysing single countries, it is possible to observe once again the impact of international safety and security: the growth recorded in Spain, Hungary, Portugal and Ireland were obfuscated by loss in arrivals in Turkey, Belgium and France.

Overseas, American international arrivals increased by 4%. The growth affected every internal region. In fact, South America appreciated and increase of 7%, Central America of 6%, Carribean and North America of 4%.

In Africa international arrivals grew by 8%, while Middle East recorded a decrease of 6%, even if they started recovering starting from the second half of the year.

China is the top source market and continues on driving the international demand with an important growth in tourism spending (19%), followed by the USA (9%). In Europe positive results were recorded by Germany (5%), UK (10%), France and Italy (3%), Spain (19%), Ukraine (15%), Ireland (12%) and Norway (11%). Russian Federation recorded a notable decline (-37%). Other source markets to be considered are Egypt (38%), Argentina (27%), India (16%), Thailand (15%).

According to the UNWTO Confidence Index, the perspective for the end of 2016 still remains positive, and the members of the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts are confident about the September-December period, mostly about Africa, Americas and Asia and the Pacific while they are more cautious about situation of Europe and Middle East.

At Twissen we are observing an eastward shift in the tourist demand and, beyond China, the growth of India and Indonesia. Moreover, according to IATA, China will overtake the USA as the world’s largest aviation market (defined by traffic to, from and within the country) around 2029, India will represent the third in 2026 surpassing the UK, while Indonesia enters the top ten with the loss of Italy.