1.4 billion international arrivals in 2018

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Published on 23/01/19 - Updated on 17/03/22

infographie : les arrivées internationales dans le monde en 2018

The figures came in this morning: the planet saw 1.4 billion international arrivals in 2018 according to the first statistics from the WTO. In particular, it is a two year acceleration with respect to perspectives: in 2010, the WTO, believed the figure of 1.4 billion arrivals would only be reached in 2020.

1.4 billion international arrivals in 2018. This represents a 6% increase over 2017. This number does not exactly match the number of international tourists who have traveled the globe: a single individual ma be counted several times. For example if he travels internationally twice. It is likely that this figure overlaps with very different realities ranging from the executive traveling several times a year and participating in business tourism, to the northern European family that leaves their country once a year to go to the beach in the summer.

Similarly, not all these arrivals are distributed evenly across the Earth's surface. Europe remains the most important receiving market with 713 million arrivals. But here again, the results are mixed at the country level. While Southern Europe, the Mediterranean region, recorded a growth rate of 7% compared to 2017, Northern Europe stagnated compared to last year. Especially with the low score of the United Kingdom, which could be one of the effects of Brexit. Similarly, the American zone, i.e. North, South America and the Caribbean, is only growing by 3%: the WTO claims that the cause of this weaker growth is the multiplication of climatic episodes, with, in particular, hurricanes Irma and Maria at the end of 2017, followed by Florence and Michael in 2018.

The largest increases are in Africa and the Middle East, with respectively 10% and 7% growth. These geographic areas are well above the world average growth rate of 6%, as are the 67 million international arrivals.

These disparities are reflected in the speech of the Secretary General of the organization Zurab Pololikashvili: "It is our responsibility to manage this growth in a sustainable way and to convert it into concrete benefits for all countries, especially for all local populations, through job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities, without leaving anyone behind". Finally, for 2019, the WTO forecasts an increase in GDP of 3 to 4%, for a year that is slightly more in line with the historical growth trend (world growth having been around 3.5% in 2018).

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