According to the World Tourism Organization, international tourist arrivals grew 6.1% in the first six months of 2018 after a record year of growth in 2017.
All world regions enjoyed robust growth in tourist arrivals in January-June 2018 except for the Caribbean which saw a 9.4% decline compared to the same six months of 2017, largely as a result of the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The increase was fueled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy. It comes after record year-round growth of 7% in 2017.
By region, Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth with a 7% increase in arrivals each. Southern Mediterranean Europe and South-East Asia had the strongest results in these regions, both welcoming 9% more international tourists.
The Middle East and Africa also recorded sound results with arrivals growing at 5% and 4%, respectively, according to still-limited information available for destinations in these regions.
The Americas saw 3% growth in arrivals over the six-month period, driven by South America (+7%) and North America (+5%). The United States continued to fuel much growth in the region and beyond.
On the demand side, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation all reported double-digit increases in outbound spending in Europe.
India and the Republic of Korea drove growth in Asia and the Pacific, while the world’s top source market China reported similar spending as in the same period last year.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.