International tourist arrivals up 4% -34 mln more visitors received
HARARE, International tourist arrivals increased 4% as destinations received 956mln visitors in the 9 months to September 2016 which is 34 mln more than in 2015 .
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, Asia and the Pacific led growth across world regions, with international tourist arrivals up 9% through September.
Many destinations in the four regions reported a double-digit growth, with the Republic of Korea +34%, Vietnam +36%, Japan +24% and Sri Lanka +15% in the lead.
In Europe, international arrivals grew by 2% between January and September 2016, with solid growth in most destinations. Nonetheless, double-digit increases in major destinations such as Spain, Hungary, Portugal and Ireland were offset by feeble results in France, Belgium and Turkey.
International tourist arrivals in the Americas increased by 4% through September. While Africa recorde a +8% growth with sub-Saharan destinations rebounded strongly throughout the year, while North Africa picked up in the third quarter.
Available data for the Middle East points to a 6% decrease in arrivals, though results vary from destination to destination..
“Tourism is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economic sectors but it is also very sensitive to risks, both actual and perceived. As such, the sector must continue to work together with governments and stakeholders to minimize risks, respond effectively and build confidence among travelers,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Rifai Said Demand for international tourism remained robust in the first nine months of 2016, though growing at a somewhat more moderate pace.
While most destinations report encouraging results, others continue to struggle with the impact of negative events, either in their country or in their region.
“No destination is immune to risks. We need to increase cooperation in addressing these global threats, namely those related to safety and security. And we need to make tourism an integral part of emergency planning and response”, added Rifai
The great majority of leading source markets in the world reported increases in international tourism expenditure during the first three to nine months of 2016.
Among the top five source markets, China, the world’s top source market, continues to drive demand, reporting double-digit growth in spending (+19%).
“Likewise, robust results come from the United States (+9%), which benefited many destinations in the Americas and beyond. Germany reported a 5% increase in expenditure, the United Kingdom, a 10% increase, and France, 3% growth,” said Rifai.
Meanwhile in Zimbabwe the decline of visitors from the country’s major source markets, especially from mainland Africa and Europe, dragged tourist arrivals down three percent to 902 435 during the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2015.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), last year’s arrivals to Zimbabwe stood at 930 277.