Spain overtakes the U.S. as the world's second tourist destination

Esequiel Farfan
Enero 16, 2018

This strong momentum is expected to continue in 2018 at a rate of four to five per cent.

The seven percent increase, bsed on data reported by destinations around the world, is well above the sustained and consistent trend of four percent or higher growth since 2010 and represents the strongest results in seven years.

The UNWTO indicated that led by Mediterranean destinations, Europe recorded extraordinary results for such a large and rather mature region, with 8 per cent more global arrivals than in 2016, adding that Africa consolidated its 2016 rebound with an 8 per cent increase.

"Africa consolidated its 2016 rebound with an 8% increase". Europe and the Americas are both expected to grow by 3.5-4.5 per cent, Asia-Pacific by five to six per cent, Africa by five to seven per cent, and the Middle East by four to six per cent.

Tourism was boosted by a global economic upswing, and a rebound in spending from Brazil and the Russian Federation after some years of decline.

Overall, the number of worldwide tourist arrivals grew 7% in 2017 to 1.3 billion, according to latest estimates.

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"International travel continues to grow strongly, consolidating the tourism sector as a key driver in economic development".

UNWTO said definitive figures would not be published until the spring. This is somewhat above the 3.8% average increase projected for the period 2010-2020 by UNWTO in its Tourism Towards 2030 long-term forecast. Growth was driven by the extraordinary results in Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+13%).

Europe and Africa (8%) have been leading the industry, followed by Asia and the Pacific (6%).

Arrivals to north-east Asia increased by three per cent. In North America (+2%), robust results in Mexico and Canada contrasted with a decrease in the United States, the region's largest destination.

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, had already announced last week that tourism numbers had soared, saying earnings in a sector that accounts for 11% of Spain's gross domestic product rose 12% to €87bn in 2017.

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