numbers grew 6,4% in the first half of 2017, the
strongest half-year figures in seven years, with
Mediterranean destinations posting double-digit growth,
the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
The number of international tourists surged to around
598 million between January and June, some 36 million
more than during the same period last year, the
Madrid-based UN body said in a statement.
Rising business confidence and strong outbound demand
from major source markets such as Britain, China, France
and the United States were behind the rise.
"The first half of 2017 shows healthy growth in an
increasingly dynamic and resilient tourism market,
including a strong recovery in some of the destinations
impacted by security challenges last year," said UNWTO
Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Mediterranean destinations reported "particularly strong
growth" in the first half of 2017, including those such
as Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, which suffered terrorist
attacks in recent years, causing a slump in visitors,
the organisation said.
Southern and Mediterranean Europe saw a 12% rise in
international visitors, North Africa posted a 16% rise
and the Middle East recorded an increase of 8,9%.
Tourist arrivals overall in Europe, the world's
most-visited region, grew 7,7%.
Africa saw a 7,6% rise in visitor numbers, while Asia
and the Pacific posted 5,7% growth.
International arrivals in the Americas were up 3% in the
first half of the year.
Growth was solid in South America, up by 6%, while North
America saw just 2% growth as a decrease in arrivals in
the United States offset robust results for Canada and
In the whole of 2016, the number of international
tourist arrivals grew by 3,9% from the previous year to
1,23 billion and the UN body expects the figure to grow
by 3% to 4% this year. ¡V Source: