Which countries are driving tourism growth in Asia? Source: Shutterstock.
ACCORDING to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist numbers grew by 6.0 percent in the first half of 2018.
In particular, southern Europe and Southeast Asia posted the biggest growth due to the upturn in the global economy.
The number of international tourists surged to around 641 million between January and June, some 37 million more than during the same period last year, UNWTO revealed.
“Today’s release of international tourism data for the first half of 2018 serves as further proof of the sector’s resilience and relentless growth trajectory,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.
All world regions “enjoyed robust growth in tourist arrivals” during the first half, with the increase “fueled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy.”
In Asia, India and South Korea drove tourism growth while Southeast Asia recorded a 9.4-percent increase. China, the world’s top tourism source market, reported similar spending as in the same time last year.
There are good reasons for this shift.
The rapid rise of low-cost carriers in recent years not only gave rise to an environment of fierce competition in the skies, but it has also enabled travelers to fly to even the most far-flung destinations.
To add on, Millennials are avid travelers, as compared to the generations before them, with 47 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 34 saying they would rather spend their money on traveling than buying a house.
In the whole of 2017, the number of international tourist arrivals grew by 7.0 percent from the previous year to 1.33 billion, and UNWTO expects the figure to grow by four to five percent this year.