The results from the UNWTO for the last full year of tourism statistics, shows that the travel industry continues to grow and become an ever more important factor for the global economy.
Driven by a relatively strong global economy, a growing middle class in emerging economies, technological advances, new business models, affordable travel costs and visa facilitation, international tourist arrivals grew 5% in 2018 to reach the 1.4 billion mark. This figure was reached two years ahead of UNWTO forecast.
At the same time, export earnings generated by tourism have grown to USD 1.7 trillion. This makes the sector a true global force for economic growth and development, driving the creation of more and better jobs and serving as catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship. In short, tourism is helping build better lives for millions of individuals and transforming whole communities.
But what’s driving this growth?
Favourable economic environment
- 2018 World GDP = +3.6%.
- Exchange rate movements generally moderate.
- Low interest rates.
Strong demand for air travel
- +6% in international passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) according to IATA.
- Stable fuel prices and lower fares (fares at -60% vs 1998).
Over the past two decades, the number of unique city pairs connected by air transport
has more than doubled, reaching more than 20,000 at ever lower costs.
Digital technologies are shaping traveller’s experience
- Artificial Intelligence is transforming tourism, from virtual assistants to companies being able to offer hyper-personalized customer experiences and improve business performance.
- An increasing number of destinations are measuring tourism in real time for a better management of visitor flows.
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Air Transport Association (IATA).