International tourist arrivals grew 5% in 2018, to reach the 1.4 billion mark, two years ahead of the World Tourism Organization’s long-term forecasts, according to the UNWTO International Tourism Highlights, 2019 Edition. At the same time, export earnings generated by tourism grew to USD 1.7 trillion, an increase of 4%, outpacing the world economy in 2018.
Total export earnings from international tourism grew by 4% in real terms in 2018. In addition to the USD 1.5 trillion in receipts that destinations earned, international tourism generated another USD 256 billion from international passenger transport taken by non-residents. This raised total tourism exports to USD 1.7 trillion, or USD 5 billion a day.
Released as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) prepares to meet for its 23rd General Assembly in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, this yearly report provides a consolidated analysis of international tourism. 2018 was the ninth consecutive year of sustained growth and tourism now represents 7% of global exports, growing at a faster rate than merchandise exports for the last seven years.
“This latest edition of our Highlights demonstrates the strength and potential of the tourism sector,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “These results were driven by a favourable economic environment, a growing middle class in emerging economies, technological advances, new business models, increased air capacity, affordable travel costs and visa facilitation. UNWTO is committed to ensuring that this continued growth is managed in a responsible and sustainable way and tourism is rightly seen as a key driver of social and economic development, job creation and equality”, he added.
Other key findings from the UNWTO International Tourism Highlights 2019 report include:
• Asia and the Pacific and Africa led growth in arrivals with a 7% increase in 2018, while Asia and the Pacific and Europe enjoyed above-average growth in tourism earnings.
• Among the world’s top 10 destinations in arrivals and receipts, France continued to lead in international tourist arrivals, while the United States remained the largest tourism earner in 2018. Japan entered the top 10 earners ranking following seven years of double-digit growth in international tourism receipts.
• The top 10 tourism earners account for almost half of total tourism receipts, while the top 10 destinations in arrivals receive 40% of worldwide arrivals.
• China remained the world’s largest spender, with USD 277 billion spending on international tourism in 2018 or one-fifth of international tourism expenditure, followed by the United States.
• 4 out of 5 tourists visit a destination in their own region.
• 58% of all international tourists arrive to their destinations by air. The share of air travel has increased from 46% in 2000 to 58% in 2018.
• The share of leisure travel has grown from 50% in 2000 to 56% in 2018. Leisure travel is the main purpose of visit in all world regions except the Middle East, where visiting friends and relatives (VFR), or for health or religious purposes predominates.
• The share of world population requiring a traditional visa declined from 75% in 1980 to 53% in 2018.
UNIDO Project in Kyrgyzstan named “Project of the Year”
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) received the “Project of the Year” award for its activities related to “Linking the tourism industry to productive activities in the Issyk-Kul region of the Kyrgyz Republic”, which are funded by the Russian Federation.
The UNIDO project was officially acknowledged for its achievements in the field of development and promotion of the tourism sector of the Kyrgyz Republic by the Kyrgyz Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism during the ceremony of the Kyrgyz Tourism Awards on World Tourism Day.
Thanks to UNIDO seminars on food safety, sustainable and eco-tourism, marketing and management skills, representatives of local producers and of the tourism sector improved their marketing and hotel management skills, with two UNIDO beneficiaries also being recognized:
On behalf of the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, UNIDO beneficiary Asylbek Razhiev was named “Man of the Year” for his special contribution to the development of tourism, and Nurbek Saparov, another UNIDO beneficiary, was named “Best Guide”.
More than two hundred representatives of the business community, international organizations, the tourism, culture and media sectors as well as politicians and diplomats attended the 2019 Kyrgyz Tourism Awards.
Tourism Leading Other Global Sectors in Advancing Gender Equality
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in collaboration with UN Women, The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), World Bank Group and Amadeus, has launched the long-awaited second edition of the Global Report on Women in Tourism. The publication highlights the progress the global tourism sector has made in advancing gender equality, with key case studies and statistics gathered from around the world.
The key findings show that:
The majority of the tourism workforce worldwide is female: 54% of people employed in tourism are women compared to 39% in the broader economy
The wage-gap is smaller in the tourism sector: Women in tourism earn 14.7% less than men compared to 16.8% in the broader economy
Tourism offers women more opportunities for leadership roles: 23% of tourism Ministers are female compared to 20.7% of Ministers overall
The report also highlights how more and more women are challenging gender stereotypes in the sector.
In Morocco, for example, women have been issued tour guide licenses for the first time. An airline in the UK has doubled the number of female pilots they employ and Uganda’s Hotel Owner’s Association is now lead by its first female CEO.
Technology has also been a catalyst for empowerment, providing women with access to more training opportunities and stimulating female entrepreneurship through easier access to the tourism market.
In the public sphere, policy-makers are waking up to the importance of gender equality in tourism and putting measures in place to ensure women fairly share the benefits that tourism can bring.
Speaking on these findings UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said “tourism is leading the charge for female empowerment all over the world. Across the private and public sectors women are harnessing the potential of tourism to become financially independent, challenge stereotypes and start their own businesses.
UNWTO is firmly committed to working towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 – the empowerment of women and girls – and ensuring that tourism continues to be at the forefront of gender-equality efforts.”
UNWTO Joins Asia-Pacific Sector Leaders to Address Overcrowding In Urban Destinations
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the People’s Government of Guilin (China) held the 13th UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook in Guilin from 17 to 19 October 2019. Over 170 participants from 23 countries/regions came together to share their knowledge and experience around the theme ‘Beyond Gateways: Dispersal policies, capacity management, and rural tourism’.
UNWTO Executive Director Manuel Butler said at the Opening Ceremony, “today we gather in the Chinese city of Guilin to present our latest tourism research and to discuss dispersal policies, capacity management and the efforts to better understand and prevent the phenomenon of overcrowding is some urban destinations.”
“Guilin is deeply committed to the sustainable development of tourism, and through this forum the city has become a prominent center for the exchange of tourism knowledge in Asia and the Pacific”, Mr. Butler added.
International tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific grew 7% in 2018 to reach a total of 348 million, one fourth of the world’s total. Asia recorded the strongest growth in international arrivals in the period 2000 to 2018, much of which has been fuelled by China, the world’s top source market. Chinese citizens made about 150 million international trips in 2018.
During the Keynote Session on sustainable tourism, Vincent Nijs from VisitFlanders (Belgium) discussed the transformational power of tourism in the context of a new future vision for tourism, including how flourishing destinations find a positive balance for the traveler, host and place.
Among the topics discussed at the Forum were the applications of big data to tourism measurement and dispersal policies, the integration of tourism with culture and creative industries, policies for managing sustainable tourism growth, capacity management and rural tourism.
The event counted with the participation of Amadeus, Telefonica, the World Bank, PATA, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Board, the Guanxi University as well as research and policymakers from different countries in Asia and the Pacific and the world.
The Forum has become over the last 13 years a reference platform on global and regional tourism trends.
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