Global tourism last year continued on its growth pattern with four per cent growth rate as it recorded 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals, with the Middle East region recording the fastest growth of +8% while Asia and the Pacific region recorded 5% and Africa 4%. Despite the global economic slowdown, tourism spending continued to grow, especially among the world’s top 10 spenders, with France reporting the strongest increase in international tourism expenditure of outbound markets (+11%), while the United States (+6%) led growth in absolute terms, aided by a strong dollar.
In 2020, the same four per cent growth rate is predicted by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) through its World Tourism Barometer, which it in detailed report of last year’s performance of global tourism said the growth figure is a confirmation of tourism as a leading and resilient economic sector, especially in view of current uncertainties This growth, which it is said is the 10th consecutive year of growth in tourism, calls for such growth to be managed responsibly so as to best seize the opportunities tourism can generate for communities around the world. “All regions saw a rise in international arrivals in 2019.
However, uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the collapse of Thomas Cook, geopolitical and social tensions and the global economic slowdown all contributed to a slower growth in 2019, when compared to the exceptional rates of 2017 and 2018.
This slowdown affected mainly advanced economies and particularly Europe and Asia and the Pacific,” revealed the report. It further revealed that: ‘‘Looking ahead, growth of 3% to 4% is predicted for 2020, an outlook reflected in the latest UNWTO Confidence Index which shows a cautious optimism: 47% of participants believe tourism will perform better and 43% at the same level of 2019. Major sporting events, including the Tokyo Olympics, and cultural events such as Expo 2020 Dubai are expected to have a positive impact on the sector.