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Dan Nang / Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Global tourism sets new records

Tourism generates $4 billion a day, with Spain and Japan doing well and Russia re-entering the top ten of world spenders.

A number of global tourism trends are evident from the World Tourism Organization’s latest report, issued yesterday and detailing “another record year” in 2017.

Overall, international tourist arrivals grew by 7% during the year, the highest rate of increase since 2010, the UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2018 Edition says.

Growth in arrivals was echoed by a strong increase in spending generated by tourism, which reached $1.6 trillion in 2017, making tourism the world’s third-largest export sector.

Among the top markets and destinations, Spain rose to become the world’s second most-visited destination in terms of international arrivals, after France.

Japan entered the top ten in tourism earnings after six straight years of double-digit growth, while Russia re-entered the top ten of world spenders in eighth place.

Strong outbound demand from almost all source markets, including rebounds from Brazil and Russia, benefited both advanced and emerging destinations, the UNWTO writes.

The new report also shows that China continues to lead global outbound travel, having spent $258 billion on international tourism during the year – almost one-fifth of the world’s total tourism spending in 2017, which stood at $1.3 trillion, around $94 billion more than in 2016.

Europe and Africa lead
International tourist arrivals reached a total of 1.323 billion in 2017, some 84 million more than the previous year and a new record. The sector has now seen uninterrupted growth in arrivals for eight straight years.

The growth was led by the regions of Europe and Africa, which received increases in arrivals of 8% and 9%, respectively.

Overall international tourism receipts rose by 5% in 2017. In addition to the $1.3 trillion that destinations earned, international tourism generated another $240 billion from international passenger transport taken by non-residents, according to the UNWTO.

This raised total tourism exports to $1.6 trillion, or $4 billion a day, which corresponds to 7% of the world’s exports.

Data for early 2018 suggests continued growth, with a year-on-year increase of 6% in arrivals between January and April.

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