Sustainable destinations increased among the more than 1.2 Billion tourists who travelled in 2016
Sustainable destinations have considerably increased their value among the more than 1.2 billion international tourists who travelled worldwide in 2016, as will be established at FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Fair organised by IFEMA which is due to be staged from 18 to 22 January at Feria de Madrid. In the first nine months of the year alone, a total of 956 million tourists travelled around the planet, according to the World Tourism Organisation’s latest Barometer. The figure represents a 4% increase over the same period of the previous year and confirms that tourism is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economic sectors, one that is contributing to recovering the economy and to creating new business niches.
“The dynamising role of tourism worldwide, and especially in Spain, is endorsed by the forecasts that point to 1.8 billion travellers in the planet as a whole by 2030 and to closing 2016 in our country with more than 74 million foreign travellers,” says Luis Gallego, Chairman of the FITUR Organising Committee and CEO of Iberia.
In the first nine months of 2016, the Asia-Pacific region was at the forefront of tourist growth, with an increase of 9%. And many destinations registered double-digit increases, with Republic of Korea (+34%), Vietnam (+36%), Japan (+24%) and Sri Lanka (+15%) heading the list. In Europe, international arrivals increased by 2% between January and September 2016, and growth was solid in the majority of destinations. Meanwhile, international tourist arrivals in the Americas saw an increase of 4% during September.
In this context, Spanish tourism has consolidated its position in 2016 as the country’s principal driver of economic growth and jobs. According to the Border Survey of Tourist Movements (Frontur), in the first ten months of the year Spain received 67.5 million foreign tourists. And as Julián Alcolea, Vice President of the Spanish Association of Tourism Professionals, reminds us, forecasts point to breaking all records in 2016 as a whole. ”Evolution is so positive that initially the Bank of Spain estimated the increase of tourism GDP to be 3.2%, when in reality it will be 4.4%”. In the international ranking, Spain occupies third place worldwide in tourist arrivals (68.1 million in 2015) and in tourist expenditure (67 billion euros).
The latest Exceltur report explains that the tourism industry’s socio-labour contribution is at record levels. September 2016 closed with 87,693 more Social Security affiliates thanks to the increase in activity and the lengthening of the season, the best employment record in the past two decades. Tourism continues to drive job creation at 2.3 points above the generation rate of new jobs induced by the rest of Spain’s economic activities. And the gap between its job creation capacity and that of the other major personnel-intensive sectors in the Spanish economy continues to grow. The increase of 5.6% in Social Security affiliates from tourism branches stands far above that of other key sectors such as construction and retail.
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