People, Travel

Int’l Tourist Arrivals Up 3.9%

International tourist arrivals reached 1.235 billion last year.International tourist arrivals reached 1.235 billion last year.

Despite global challenges and threats to tourism—an increase in terror activity, unstable financial and economic situations like Brexit and growing political hostility fueled by the likes of American President Donald Trump—demand for international tourism remained robust in 2016.

According to the latest World Tourism Organization’s barometer, tourist travels across the globe grew by 3.9% to reach a total of 1.235 billion, News24 reported.

This means some 46 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled internationally last year compared to 2015.

The past year also marked the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis. A comparable sequence of uninterrupted solid growth has not been recorded since the 1960s.

The number of people living in Asia and discovering both their own region and the rest of the world rose 8% compared to 2015, the Madrid-based body said.

The Asia-Pacific area, meanwhile, proved a popular destination—the second most visited region after Europe.

But the UN body cautioned that while still blessed with 620 million tourists last year, the growth in the number of visitors to Europe had slowed due to security concerns, reported.

WTO chief Taleb Rifai told reporters the results in Europe varied widely from one country to the next.

He refused to give a much-anticipated ranking of the most visited countries, saying this would be unveiled later.

In 2015, France ranked number one, followed by the United States and Spain.

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