Tourists shun U.S.

Despite terrorist attacks and catastrophic weather events, world tourism saw record numbers in 2017.

International tourist arrivals grew by a remarkable 7 per cent in 2017 to reach a total of 1.3 million, according to the latest United Nations World Trade Organization World Tourism Barometer. This strong momentum is expected to continue in 2018 at a rate of 4-5 per cent.

Based on data reported by destinations around the world, it is estimated that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide increased 7 per cent in 2017. This is well above the sustained and consistent trend of 4 per cent or higher growth since 2010 and represents the strongest results in seven years.

France retained top spot in Europe followed by Spain. At the same time, visits to the United States in the first months of the Trump presidency international visits declined 5 per cent in the first quarter and 3 per cent in the second quarter. The Americas (+3 per cent) welcomed 207 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, with most destinations enjoying positive results.

South America (+7 per cent) led growth, followed by Central America and the Caribbean (both +4 per cent), with the latter showing clear signs of recovery in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria. In North America (+2 per cent), robust results in Mexico and Canada contrasted with a decrease in the United States, the region’s largest destination.

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