Never seen so many tourists (1,23 billion)

Vacationers in large parts of the world are not deterred by terrorist attacks and international conflicts. The number of tourists that travel abroad went last year with a 3.9 percent increase to more than 1,23 billion, a record.

© iStockphoto

That informed the UN toerismeorganisatie UNWTO in Madrid. The number of tourists went for the seventh year in a row up. “The figures show that in comparison with 2015 almost 46 million more people have travelled”, said UNWTO’s executive chairman Taleb Rifai.

The overall figures hide, however, regional differences. So the growth was greatest with the Asian tourists (+8 percent). Europe remained the most visited region with 620 million tourists), but the growth remained limited to 2 percent.

Within Europe knew North and Central Europe, the best growth rates (respectively +6 and +4 percent), while in the Mediterranean Region and Western Europe the growth was limited or even stagnated. Africa recovered after a sharp fall in 2015; America (from North to South) performed on the global average.

Even more growth

Also this year is expected to grow. That would be 3 to 4 percent. The major challenge for the sector is the safety of the vacationers safeguards in the light of the threat of terrorism.

“Attacks are often directed against airports, railway stations, hotels, museums, beaches …, the entire tourist infrastructure so”, said Rifai.

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