International tourist arrivals up 4% reach a record 1.2 billion in 2015

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,184 million in 2015, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Some 50 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled to international destinations around the world last year as compared to 2014. 

2015 marks the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010.

“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Demand was strong overall, though with mixed results across individual destinations due to unusually strong exchange rate fluctuations, the drop in oil prices and other commodities which increased disposable income in importing countries but weakened demand in exporters, as well as increased safety and security concerns.

“2015 results were influenced by exchange rates, oil prices and natural and manmade crises in many parts of the world. As the current environment highlights in a particular manner the issues of safety and security, we should recall that tourism development greatly depends upon our collective capacity to promote safe, secure and seamless travel. In this respect, UNWTO urges governments to include tourism administrations in their national security planning, structures and procedures, not only to ensure that the sector’s exposure to threats is minimised but also to maximise the sector’s ability to support security and facilitation, as seamless and safe travel can and should go hand in hand”, added Mr Rifai.

Growth in advanced economy destinations (+5%) exceeded that of emerging economies (+4%), boosted by the solid results of Europe (+5%).

By region, Europe, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific all recorded around 5% growth in 2015. Arrivals to the Middle East increased by 3% while in Africa, limited data available, points to an estimated 3% decrease, mostly due to weak results in North Africa, which accounts for over one third of arrivals in the region.


Positive prospects for 2016

Results from the UNWTO Confidence Index remain largely positive for 2016, though at a slightly lower level as compared to  the previous two years. Based on the current trend and this outlook, UNWTO projects international tourist arrivals to grow by 4% worldwide in 2016.

By region, growth is expected to be stronger in Asia and the Pacific (+4% to +5%) and the Americas (+4% to +5%), followed by Europe (+3.5% to +4.5%). The projections for Africa (+2% to 5%) and the Middle East (+2% to +5%) are positive, though with a larger degree of uncertainty and volatility.

2015 Regional Results

Europe (+5%) led growth in absolute and relative terms supported by a weaker euro vis-à-vis the US dollar and other main currencies. Arrivals reached 609 million, or 29 million more than in 2014. Central and Eastern Europe (+6%) rebounded from last year’s decrease in arrivals. Northern Europe (+6%), Southern Mediterranean Europe (+5%) and Western Europe (+4%) also recorded sound results, especially considering the many mature destinations they comprise.

Asia and the Pacific (+5%) recorded 13 million more international tourist arrivals last year to reach 277 million, with uneven results across destinations. Oceania (+7%) and South-East Asia (+5%) led growth, while South Asia and in North-East Asia recorded an increase of 4%.

International tourist arrivals in the Americas (+5%) grew 9 million to reach 191 million, consolidating the strong results of 2014. The appreciation of the US dollar stimulated outbound travel from the United States, benefiting the Caribbean and Central America, both recording 7% growth. Results in South America and North America (both at +4%) were close to the average.

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East grew by an estimated 3% to a total of 54 million, consolidating the recovery initiated in 2014.

Limited available data for Africa points to a 3% decrease in international arrivals, reaching a total of 53 million. In North Africa arrivals declined by 8% and in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1%, though the latter returned to positive growth in the second half of the year. (Results for both Africa and Middle East should be read with caution as it is based on limited available data)

China, the USA and the UK lead outbound travel growth in 2015

A few leading source markets have driven tourism expenditure in 2015 supported by a strong currency and economy.

Among the world’s top source markets, China, with double-digit growth in expenditure every year since 2004, continues to lead global outbound travel, benefitting Asian destinations such as Japan and Thailand, as well as the United States and various European destinations.

By contrast, expenditure from the previously very dynamic source markets of the Russian Federation and Brazil declined significantly, reflecting the economic constraints in both countries and the depreciation of the rouble and the real against virtually all other currencies.

As for the traditional advanced economy source markets, expenditure from the United States (+9%), the world’s second largest source market, and the United Kingdom (+6%) was boosted by a strong currency and rebounding economy. Spending from Germany, Italy and Australia grew at a slower rate (all at +2%), while demand from Canada and France was rather weak.


TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners

pata logoEmerging tourism destinations have an unprecedented opportunity to boost their digital marketing campaigns, thanks to a collaborative venture between the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and TripAdvisor.

The PATA CEO Challenge offers two prizes, each valued at US$500,000, for regional, state and province tourism organisations, and secondary and tertiary cities that are able to demonstrate the uniqueness and authenticity of their heritage, customs, culture and natural beauty to local and international travellers. Awards valued at US$500,000 will be presented to the winners of each category: States, regions and provinces; and second-tier/third-tier cities.

Trip AdvisorThe winning organisations will work with dedicated teams from TripAdvisor to create unforgettable digital marketing campaigns that showcase their destinations to global stakeholders.“The PATA CEO Challenge is gathering momentum and we are receiving enquiries and entries from a very broad spectrum of new and emerging destinations. This is a remarkable opportunity to work with TripAdvisor’s digital marketing experts,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “We have received many enquiries from organisations in mainland China and to assist them we are accepting entries in Simplified Chinese.”“Travellers around the world are always on the lookout for places to discover and explore.

By participating in the PATA CEO Challenge, emerging destinations will have the opportunity to showcase their unique destination to TripAdvisor’s global travel community,” said Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing, APAC at TripAdvisor. “We look forward to receiving even more creative entries as the deadline draw near.” Deadline for submissions is Thursday, October 1, 2015. The awards will be presented at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London on November 2, when the guest of honour will be UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai

via TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners.

Tourism delivers 4.7% growth: 1,138 million arrivals recorded for 2014, UNWTO

UNWTO logoInternational tourist arrivals reached 1,138 million in 2014, a 4.7% increase over the previous year, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. For 2015, UNWTO forecasts international tourism to grow by 3% to 4%, further contributing to the global economic recovery.

The number of international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 1,138 million in 2014, 51 million more than in 2013. With an increase of 4.7%, this is the fifth consecutive year of above average growth since the 2009 economic crisis.

“Over the past years, tourism has proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity and a fundamental contributor to the economic recovery by generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of jobs. This has been true for destinations all around the world, but particularly for Europe, as the region struggles to consolidate its way out of one of the worst economic periods in its history,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the Spain Global Tourism Forum in Madrid.

By region, the Americas (+7%) and Asia and the Pacific (+5%) registered the strongest growth, while Europe (+4%), the Middle East (+4%) and Africa (+2%) grew at a slightly more modest pace. By subregion, North America (+8%) saw the best results, followed by North-East Asia, South Asia, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe and the Caribbean, all increasing by 7%.

As in recent years, the growth in international tourism receipts in 2014 is expected to have followed that of arrivals fairly close (the 2014 results for international tourism receipts will be released in April 2015). In 2013, international tourism receipts reached US$ 1,197 billion, US$ 230 billion more than in the pre-crisis year of 2008.

Positive outlook for 2015

For 2015, UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to grow between 3% and 4%. By region, growth is expected to be stronger in Asia and the Pacific (+4% to +5%) and the Americas (+4% to +5%), followed by  Europe (+3% to +4%). Arrivals are expected to increase by +3% to +5% in Africa and by +2% to +5% in the Middle East.

“We expect demand to continue growing in 2015 as the global economic situation improves even though there are still plenty of challenges ahead. On the positive side, oil prices have declined to a level not seen since 2009. This will lower transport costs and boost economic growth by lifting purchasing power and private demand in oil importing economies. Yet, it could also negatively impact some of the oil exporting countries which have emerged as strong tourism source markets,” added Mr Rifai.

The positive outlook for 2015 is confirmed by the UNWTO Confidence Index. According to the 300 tourism experts consulted worldwide for the Index, tourism performance is expected to improve in 2015, though expectations are less upbeat than a year ago.

Europe consolidates its position as the most visited region in the world

Europe (+4%), the most visited region with over half of the world’s international tourists, saw an increase of 22 million arrivals in 2014, reaching a total of 588 million. Thanks to these results, tourism has been a major contributor to the European economic recovery. Northern Europe and Southern and Mediterranean Europe led growth (both +7%), while results were more modest in Western Europe (+2%). Arrivals in Central and Eastern Europe (0%) stagnated after three years of strong growth.

International tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific (+5%) increased by 13 million to 263 million. The best performance was recorded in North-East Asia and South Asia (both +7%). Arrivals in Oceania grew by 6%, while growth slowed down in South-East Asia (+2%) as compared to previous years.

The Americas was the best performing region in relative terms with growth of 7%, welcoming an additional 13 million international tourists and raising the total to 181 million. Growth was driven by North America (+8%), where Mexico posted a double-digit increase, and the Caribbean (+7%). Arrivals to Central America and South America (both +6%) grew at double the rate recorded in 2013 and well above the world average.

International tourism in the Middle East (+4%) shows signs of rebound with good results in most destinations. The region attracted an additional 2 million arrivals, bringing the total to 50 million. Africa’s international tourist numbers grew by an estimated 2%, equivalent to an increase of one million arrivals. The region reached 56 million tourists. While arrivals to North Africa were weak (+1%), Sub-Saharan Africa saw international tourist numbers rise by 3% despite the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in a few West African countries. Data for Africa and the Middle East should be read with caution as it is based on limited and volatile data.

Demand from traditional source markets picks up

A pickup in expenditure on international tourism from traditional source markets compensated for the slowdown of the large emerging markets, which had been driving tourism growth in previous years.

The total number of trips abroad from China is estimated to have increased by 11 million to 109 million in 2014. Expenditure was up by 17% in the first three quarters of 2014, a strong result but slower than in previous years (40% in 2012 and 26% in 2013, respectively). China is the world’s largest outbound market since 2012 with a total expenditure of US$ 129 billion in 2013.

Among the other two main emerging markets, the Russian Federation (-6%) clearly lost strength in 2014, while Brazil still grew by 2%, despite the appreciation of the US dollar against the Brazilian real and slower economic growth. Beyond the top ten, some smaller emerging markets saw expenditure grow substantially, with Saudi Arabia, India, the Philippines and Qatar all reporting increases of 30% or over.

A pickup in demand from traditional source markets compensated for the slowdown of the large emerging markets. Expenditure from the United States, the second largest outbound market in the world, grew by 6%. Noteworthy is also the rebound of France (+11%), Italy (+6%) and the United Kingdom (+4%).


PATA Intern Associate Programme

PATA Intern programmePATA launches an Intern Associate Programme

The PATA Intern Associate Programme provides students with the opportunity to learn about PATA and PATA activities including advocacy, research, membership, and events. The PATA programme has attracted intern associates of different nationalities from various destinations and backgrounds around the world. PATA intern associates will be required to perform operational, support, and administrative tasks in various parts of the organisation at PATA Headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand.

via PATA Intern Associate Programme.

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World’s Two Fastest Growing Tourism Regions Renew Cooperation

World’s Two Fastest Growing   Tourism Regions Renew Cooperation
The   Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Africa Travel Association enhance   their tourism partnership
pata logoJanuary 21, 2014,   Bangkok, Thailand &   New York, NY – The Pacific   Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Africa   Travel Association (ATA) officially renewed their partnership by signing   a memorandum of understanding strengthening cooperation in developing the   visitor economies of the two fastest growing regions in the world.

The MOU commits the two regional travel trade associations to share knowledge   through research and publications, to reciprocate participation in meetings   and events, to support mutual advocacy positions, and to enhance two-way   marketing and market access.

“The rise of Africa as an inbound and outbound tourism force is well   documented,” said Martin Craigs, PATA Chief Executive Officer. “Closer   cooperation with Africa on tourism will bring many benefits not just to PATA   members, but to African tourism stakeholders too.”

Edward Bergman, ATA Executive Director, said: “We are pleased to renew this   important partnership between ATA and PATA. It will boost connections and   business opportunities for travel and tourism between Africa and Asia.”

According to PATAmPOWER statistics, the number of Africans visiting Asia   reached 797,000 in the first nine months of 2013, a rise of 3.3% over 2012.

United Nations World Tourism Organization statistics show very strong tourism   growth for both regions. There were 63.6 million international visitor   arrivals to the African continent in 2012, compared to 233.6 million in Asia   Pacific. International tourism receipts for Africa reached US$43.6 billion in   2012 compared to US$323 billion in Asia Pacific. Among emerging economy   destinations in both regions there were stellar performers in 2012 – for   example Thailand (+25%), India (+22%), and Vietnam (+18%). In Africa, some of   the top performers with double-digit growth were South Africa, Morocco, Egypt   and Madagascar.

The renewal of the MoU between the two associations builds on PATA’s   contribution to ATA’s Africa   Tourism Monitor. For the latest edition, PATAmPOWER provided data   on the top five African nations that Chinese nationals visited in 2012:   Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia, Algeria and Keyna.

Through the activities outlined in the agreement, both organizations intend   to mutually support their respective associations to encourage the   sustainable development of tourism as a means of promoting international   understanding and appreciation of their respective cultures.

This MOU is the fourth such agreement signed between the two organizations.   Previous agreements were signed in 2005, 2008, and 2010.

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WestJet’s Christmas Miracle, Amadeus invests in the hotel sector, UNWTO on tourism economic development, Expedia Media support the Philippines, PhoCusWright on European OTA market

christmas 3WestJet’s Christmas Miracle, Amadeus invests in the hotel sector, UNWTO on tourism economic development, Expedia Media support the Philippines, PhoCusWright on European OTA market.

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International tourism an engine for the economic recovery | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

UNWTO logoIn the first nine months of 2013, international tourism grew by 5% according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. The number of international tourist arrivals reported by destinations around the world increased by some 41 million between January and September, growing above UNWTO’s initial forecast and creating an important stimulus to the receiving economies. International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in the first nine months of the year, to reach a record 845 million worldwide, an estimated 41 million more than in the same period of 2012. Growth was driven by Europe and Asia and the Pacific, both seeing tourist numbers increase by 6%.“International tourism continues to grow above expectations, supporting economic growth in both advanced and emerging economies and bringing much needed support to job creation, GDP and the balance of payments of many destinations” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “It is particularly encouraging to see the strong results in many European destinations, where the tourism sector is, undoubtedly, one of the engines of the economic recovery”.

via International tourism an engine for the economic recovery | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.

Visa facilitation can create 2.6 million new jobs in the APEC economies | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

WTTC logoA new report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that visa facilitation could create up to 2.6 million new jobs in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies by 2016. The report was presented on the occasion of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue (Bali, Indonesia, 1 October 2013).

UNWTO logoThe report The Impact of Visa Facilitation in APEC Economies indicates that although there has been successful collaboration and advances across the APEC region to facilitate visas, including progressive approaches to implement new visa policies, 21% of expected international tourists arriving into APEC over the period 2014-2016 would still be required to obtain a traditional visa prior to travel under current visa policies.

Facilitating visas for these tourists could create as much as 2.6 million additional jobs in the APEC economies by 2016 and an additional US$ 89 billion in international tourism receipts generated by 57 million more tourists visiting APEC destinations.

Hosting the meeting, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, Mari Elka Pangestu, highlighted that the importance of tourism as a vehicle of job creation, economic growth and development in Asia Pacific has been acknowledged by APEC leaders through the launch, in 2011, of the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative.

“The challenge now is to establish cooperation between officials working in tourism, finance, customs, immigration, security, transportation and airport authorities which are in different working groups. In 2013, through this High Level Policy Dialogue on Travel Facilitation held in Bali, for the fist time, there is an attempt of coordination across fora and we hope to end up with some action plans on visa and travel facilitation,” explained Minister Pangestu

via Visa facilitation can create 2.6 million new jobs in the APEC economies | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.

Mexico and Burkina Faso official hosts of World Tourism Day 2014 and 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

Mexico was selected to be the official host country for World Tourism Day (WTD) 2014 and Burkina Faso for WTD 2015. The respective themes will be

“Tourism and Community Development” for 2014, and “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities” for 2015

The announcement was made at the 20th UNWTO General Assembly (Victoria Falls, 29 August). Celebrated annually on 27 September, World Tourism Day is the biggest international event in tourism.  Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address the global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and highlight the tourism sector´s contribution to achieving these goals.UNWTO logo

WTD 2013 will be held at the Maldives, centered on the theme “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future”, highlighting the tourism sector´s leadership role and contribution in facing the global water challenge.

via Mexico and Burkina Faso official hosts of World Tourism Day 2014 and 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.