International tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totalling 1.4 billion according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer published January 2019. UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to grow 3% to 4% in 2019, with the consolidation among consumers of emerging trends including wellness tourism.UNWTO estimates that worldwide international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased 6% to 1.4 billion in 2018.
The stability of fuel prices tends to translate into affordable air travel while air connectivity continues to improve in many destinations. Trends show strong outbound travel from India and Russia, as well as from smaller Asian and Arab source markets.
Across geographic markets in 2018:
- The Middle East (+10%), Africa (+7%), Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +6%) led growth in 2018. Arrivals to the Americas were slow (+3%).
- International tourist arrivals in Europe reached 713 million, a 6% increase over 2017. Growth was driven by Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+7%), Central and Eastern Europe (+6%) and Western Europe (+6%). Results in Northern Europe were flat due to the slowdown of arrivals to the UK.
- Asia and the Pacific (+6%) recorded 343 million international tourist arrivals. Arrivals in South-East Asia grew 7%, followed by North-East Asia (+6%) and South Asia (+5%). Oceania had growth at +3%.
- The Americas (+3%) welcomed 217 million international arrivals, with mixed results across destinations. Growth was led by North America (+4%), and followed by South America (+3%), while Central America and the Caribbean (both -2%) fell due to hurricanes in 2017.
- Africa had a 7% increase (North Africa at +10% and Sub-Saharan +6%), reaching 67 million arrivals.
- The Middle East (+10%) showed solid results with international tourist arrivals reaching 64 million.