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10/01/2018 - 17:33hs

Middle East helps drive global tourism

Tourist flows increased by 6% worldwide in 2017, UNWTO secretary-general said. The region played a role in keeping numbers going strong in the last months of the year.

Madrid – The new secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili said this Wednesday (10) that global tourism picked up by 6% in 2017, to a large extent thanks to North Africa and Middle East destinations, Spain’s EFE reported.

Press Release

Zurab Pololikashvili at forum in Madrid

Speaking at a forum in Madrid, Pololikashvili estimated that international tourism will increase by 3% to 4% in 2018, as part of UNWTO’s forecasts leading up to 2030.

The secretary, who took office on January 1st, stressed China’s rapid progression as a tourist issuer country. The pickup in international tourism had been anticipated in mid-December by Pololikashvili’s predecessor Taleb Rifai, on which occasion the UNWTO revised up its 2017 projections.

After a 7% increase through August, the organization expected growth to be in the 4.5%-5% range. Growth habitually slows over the last months of the year. However, numbers kept going strong up until October, primarily in Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Pololikashvili emphasized the relevance of tourism, which accounts for 10% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is the third biggest exporting sector. One in every ten people worldwide are directly or indirectly involved in the sector. The UNWTO is tasked with making sure the industry benefits each and every community, and that no one is left out.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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