Global tourism - additional information
International tourist arrivals are increasing year-on-year as a result of the growing ease of travel for many people around the world. In recent years, the number of tourists traveling the globe annually exceeded the one billion mark and numbers are expected to near two billion by 2030. In 2016, the region with the largest number of outbound travelers was Europe. With approximately 596 million travelers, Europe had almost double the number of outbound tourists of the second leading region, Asia Pacific. Figures were also similar in terms of international tourist arrivals to the two regions. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has forecasted that the gap between the Asia Pacific region and Europe will shorten significantly by 2030.
Travel and tourism made a total contribution of 7.61 trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy in 2016. The economic impact of tourism is clearly recognized by country leaders all over the world and it is particularly important to those of less developed economies. The fastest-emerging country in terms of tourism’s direct economic contribution in coming years is expected to be Namibia. The south-west African country’s tourism industry focuses on wildlife and ecotourism and is predicted to grow by 9.1 percent annually between 2014 and 2024.
At the other end of the scale, leading tourist destinations, such as France, the United States and Spain, can expect upwards of 60 million visitors each year. In the case of cities, the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index found that Bangkok was the most visited city worldwide in 2016, with 21.47 million international visitors.