via International tourist arrivals up 4,3pc | The Herald November 4, 2015
International tourist arrivals rose by 4,3 percent to 810 million in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period last year, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said yesterday.
But as other parts of the world recorded an increase in arrivals, Africa failed to make the mark, registering a five percent drop.
“Limited available data for Africa points to a five percent decline in arrivals, with North Africa decreasing by 10 percent and sub-Saharan Africa by three percent,” UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said in a statement.
The overall growth in international arrivals was fuelled by a growth in Europe, which came out tops in the period with a five percent increase followed by Asia, the Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East, which all recorded a four percent increase in arrivals.
“Sustained growth in international tourism is very positive news for all as the sector increasingly contributes to creating jobs, promoting trade and investment, developing infrastructure and fostering inclusive economic growth,” Mr Rifai said.
“This is particularly true in recent years, when tourism has been instrumental in supporting the economic recovery of many countries and in generating new jobs.”
Mr Rifai said currency fluctuations were a double edged sword as they boosted growth in some areas but affected arrivals in some countries.
“Although demand has been positive overall, tourism flows have been determined to some extent by the comparatively strong currency fluctuations. Many destinations are benefiting from more favourable exchange rates, while others have become more expensive, but seen their purchasing power abroad increase,” he said.
African countries such as Egypt and South Africa recorded double-digit increase in tourism expenditure primarily due to a depreciation in their currencies against major currencies such as the US dollar. — New Ziana