Middle East sees fewer international tourists in first half

October 9, 2016 6:05 pm

  • International tourists arrival in the Middle East drops 9% in H1 2016
  • International tourists numbers globally have surged at 4%

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East declined in the first half of the year, even as the numbers surged globally. According to the figures released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations, international tourist arrivals in the region fell by nine per cent during the first six months of 2016.


International arrivals worldwide grew by four per cent between January and June this year, compared to the same period in 2015.


A total of 561 million overnight visitors made their way to various destinations across the world. The figure is up 21m from the six-month period a year earlier, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.


Across the regions, Asia and the Pacific retained its position as the top market with a nine per cent growth in arrivals.


In the Americas, international arrivals increased by four per cent, led by Central America and South America (both +6 per cent) and Europe grew by three per cent, with solid growth in many destinations offsetting weaker performance in others, according to the UNWTO.


Africa witnessed a growth of five per cent as Sub-Saharan destinations rebounded strongly, whereas North Africa reported a nine per cent decline.


“Tourism has proven to be one of the most resilient economic sectors worldwide. It is creating jobs for millions, at a time when providing perspectives for a better future to people of all regions is one of our biggest challenges,” Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO, said.


Experts at the UNWTO forecast a positive growth in the second half of the year. Confidence is highest in Africa, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific, while experts in Europe and the Middle East are somewhat more cautious about the September-December period.


“Safety and security are key pillars of tourism development and we need to strengthen our common action to build a safe, secure and seamless travel framework. This is no time to build walls or point fingers; it is time to build an alliance based on a shared vision and a joint responsibility,” Rifai added.


AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.