Exports generated by international tourism reached USD 1.7 trillion in 2018, a 4% increase in real terms over the previous year, a recent report from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) highlighted. For the seventh year in a row, tourism exports grew faster than merchandise exports (+3%), reflecting solid demand for international travel in a generally robust economic environment.
Strong growth in outbound travel from many source markets around the world helped fuel the record revenues from international tourism which account for 29% of global service exports and 7% of overall exports of goods and services. These figures consolidate international tourism among the top five economic sectors in the world, behind chemical manufacturing and the fuel industry but ahead of the food and automotive industries.
The UNWTO report highlights that total exports from international tourism include USD 1,448 billion in international tourism receipts (visitor spending in destinations) and USD 256 billion in international passenger transport services. Tourism constitutes a key source of foreign exchange and a major tool for export diversification for many destinations across the world.
International tourism receipts increased 4% in real terms (adjusting for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation), up by around USD 100 billion more than the previous year and consistent with the 6% increase in international tourist arrivals in 2018.
By regions, Asia and the Pacific led the way with 7% growth in international tourism receipts, followed by Europe with a 5% increase. The Middle East saw 3% growth, while Africa (+1%) and the Americas (0%) recorded more modest results. Central and Eastern Europe and North-East Asia (both +9%) were the subregions with the strongest growth.
Our QUESTION OF THE WEEK is… Exports from international tourism hit USD1.7 trillion in 2018, but who were the world's ten biggest spenders?
JOIN IN THE FUN: Send your answers to: The Blue Swan Daily Content Team
We will be revealing the answers at the same time next week, when we will be setting another question.
Last week we asked…We are now more than half way through 2019, but which ten countries saw the largest rise in departing air seats in 1H 2019?
As this ranking was based on percentage rises between 1H 2018 and 1H 2019 the top ten is dominated by countries with small traffic bases. Yemen saw the largest rise in capacity having seen most flights grounded in the previous analysis period due to political tensions, with seats up more than eight-fold (+719.2%).
The Caribbean island of St Maarten was ranked second with an almost doubling in seats (+98.0%), having seen levels drop during the 2018 period post the horrific Sep-2017 hurricane that struck causing widespread devastation.
The rest of the top ten comprised: Sao Tome & Principe (+70.5%); Chad (+46.9%); US Virgin Islands (+44.1%); Mozambique (+39.0%); Comoros (+36.8%); Dominica (+33.6%); Nauru (+32.3%); and Tonga (+31.9%).
Among the ten largest aviation economies, China recorded the largest growth (+7.3%), while Spain followed (+5.0%). Among the top 50 aviation economies Russia (+12.1%), Vietnam (+13.9%), Qatar (+10.9%), Austria (+15.9%), Peru (+10.6%) and Morocco (+14.3%) all reported double-digit year-on-year growth.