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Asia Pacific leads world tourism growth together with Europe

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Tourist arrivals worldwide climbed by +6% in the first four months of 2018, compared to the same period last year, according to new figures from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

This not only continued the strong 2017 trend, but exceeded UNWTO’s early forecast for 2018.

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Growth was led by Asia and the Pacific (+8%) and Europe (+7%). Africa (+6%), the Middle East (+4%) and the Americas (+3%) also recorded sound results. Earlier this year, UNWTO’s forecast for 2018 was for a growth rate between +4-5%.

“International tourism continues to show significant growth worldwide, and this translates into job creation in many economies,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This growth reminds us of the need to increase our capacity to develop and manage tourism in a sustainable way, building smart destinations and making the most of technology and innovation.”

From January to April 2018, international arrivals increased in all regions, led by Asia and the Pacific (+8%), with sub-regions South-East Asia (+10%) and South Asia (+9%) driving results.

The world’s largest tourism region, Europe, also performed strongly during the four-month period (+7%), led by the destinations of Southern and Mediterranean Europe, and Western Europe (both +8%).

Growth in the Americas is estimated at +3%, with strongest results in South America (+8%). The Caribbean (-9%) is the only sub-region to experience a decrease in arrivals during this period, weighed down by some destinations still struggling with the aftermath of the hurricanes of August and September 2017.

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The limited information coming from Africa and the Middle East points to +6% and +4% growth, respectively, confirming the rebound of Middle East destinations and the consolidation of the growth in Africa.