Int’l Tourism Up in Q1

Tourism across the globe showed healthy growth through the first quarter.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization released its 2017 World Tourism Barometer on Saturday, which showcased travel trends over the period from January through April this year.

On the whole, there is a tremendous amount to be excited about. The report states that across the board, the world is enjoying far more visits than it had in 2016 and that those areas affected by major events have seen recovery in the form of increased visits, Travel Pulse reported.

There is even reason to feel optimistic here at home, as North American visits saw an uptick of 3% during the quarter.

This is especially good news considering tragic events that unfolded throughout Europe and the effect White House’s policies have had on travel to North America.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai spoke of the positive report via a press release: “Destinations that were affected by negative events during 2016 are showing clear signs of recovery in a very short period of time and this is very welcoming news for all, but particularly for those whose livelihoods depend on tourism in these destinations.”

Travel was up by 6% worldwide over the same period of last year, representing 21 million more international visitors (369 million worldwide visits).

For some perspective, UNWTO reminds January-April is a particularly busy few months and usually leads to 28% of the industry’s haul of visits annually with things like Chinese New Year, Easter and the southern hemisphere’s summer filling its weeks. Regions doing particularly well were the Middle East and Africa, which saw a bump of 10% and 8% respectively.

This means UNWTO is optimistic of what the coming months have to bring in the form of curiosity leading to increased bookings and travel.

UNWTO proclaims that experts' views on tourism performance to start the year was the strongest in 12 years and continues: “Experts also show strong confidence in the current May-August period, as their prospects are the most optimistic in a decade, also driven by upbeat expectations in Europe.”

UNWTO’s study is welcome news for the industry. It’s important to remember this is a turbulent time globally and myriad reports present differing perspectives on how things will play out. That said, it’s encouraging to see millions more people deciding to turn sparks of curiosity into actual travel.

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