Global tourism flows are resilient despite safety threats

According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international arrivals globally grew by 3,9%, up to 1.235 million, in spite of the challenges that afflicted 2016 such as terrorism, economic uncertainty and the complex relationships among the Countries. Previsions for 2017, which is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, are optimistic, with a foreseen growth of 3% to 4%.

As we have already reported, last year Asian markets led the global growth, registering a +8% in international arrivals. Globally, there were 303 million people travelling, 24 million yoy. The growth was strong in every region, Oceania registered a +10%, Southern Asia +9%. In particular, as reported by Euromonitor International in its “Top 100 City Destinations Ranking”, in 2015 Hong Kong was the most visited city of the world, which hosted almost 27 million tourists. In second place is Bangkok (Thailand), with about 19 million tourists. In this region international arrivals are foreseen to grow at a rate of 5% to 6%.

After 2 years of decrease, Africa registered a growth (+8%) and about 58 million of international arrivals in 2016. Sub-Saharan region recorded +11%, leading the recovering of the Country, which also benefit Northern Africa (+4%). In 2017, it is projected a growth rate of 5% to 6%.

America keeps its positive trend (+4%). In 2016, international arrivals were 201 million. Central and Latin America registered the most relevant numbers, both +6%. Despite some worries among the players towards the recent actions taken by newly elected President Trump, which also affect tourism Visa in the USA, UNWTO Barometer foresees a growth rate of 4% to 5%.

Europe was characterised by an a alternation of positive and negative results. Some regions recorded a double digit growth, others registered a decrease in international arrivals due to safety and security concerns. In any event, Europe registered +2% in number of tourists, which were 620 million, 12 million yoy. While Northern and Central Europe had a stronger growth (+6% and 4%), Southern Europe is slowing the trend with a modest +1%. According to the Euromonitor report, in 2015 the most visited cities in the continent were London, Paris and Istanbul. As the last two cities have been affected by security concerns, the tourism demand is preferring Countries which have a similar supply, such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal. The growth rate is projected to be of 2% to 3% in 2017.

Middle East, too, was characterised by negative and positive regional results. As opposed to Europe, which is still resilient to international changes, Middle East registered 54 million international arrivals, a -4%. Notwithstanding, it is foreseen a growth rate of 2% to 5% in 2017, given the high volatility in the region.

At Twissen we observed that global international arrivals keep the growing trend, in spite of the safety and security concerns or the political issues. In fact, international tourists decided to keep on travelling, preferring other destinations which offer more favorable conditions.