Tourism sites around the world have recorded close to about one billion visitors in the first nine months of 2016, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says.
The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer found that destinations around the world received 956 million international tourists between January and September 2016.
“This is 34 million more than in the same period in 2015, a 4 per cent increase,” the organisation said.
The UN tourism agency sated that demand for international tourism remained robust in the first nine months of 2016, though growing at a somewhat more moderate pace.
“After a strong start of the year, growth was slower in the second quarter of 2016 to pick up again in the third quarter of the year. While most destinations report encouraging results, others continue to struggle with the impact of negative events, either in their country or in their region,” it added.
Indicating results for the various regions of the world, it said Asia and the Pacific led growth across world regions with international tourist arrivals, noting that overnight visitors went up 9 per cent through September. It indicated that all the four subregions shared in the growth.
The UNWTO said many destinations reported double-digit growth, with the Republic of Korea (+34 per cent), Vietnam (+36 per cent), Japan (+24 per cent) and Sri Lanka (+15 per cent) in the lead.
According to the UNWTO, in Europe, international arrivals grew by 2 per cent between January and September 2016, with solid growth in most destinations.
“Nonetheless,” it added, “double-digit increases in major destinations such as Spain, Hungary, Portugal and Ireland were offset by feeble results in France, Belgium and Turkey. As a consequence, Northern Europe grew by 6 per cent and Central and Eastern Europe by 5 per cent while results were weaker in Western Europe (-1 per cent) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+0 per cent).”
The Barometer indicated that international tourist arrivals in the Americas increased by 4 per cent through September. South America recorded +7 per cent and Central America up at +6 per cent led the results, followed closely by the Caribbean and North America both at +4 per cent.
In Africa there was +8 per cent increase, as sub-Saharan destinations rebounded strongly throughout the year, while North Africa picked up in the third quarter.
Available data for the Middle East points to a 6 per cent decrease in arrivals, though results vary from destination to destination. Results started to gradually improve in the second half of the year in both North Africa and the Middle East,” the UNWTO said.
The UNWTO however indicated that the results from the Barometer reflect preliminary data reported to date and are subject to revision.