Lonely Planet Writer

We're travelling even more than ever, according to the World Tourism Organisation

A global study has shown that we’re travelling even more than ever, according to the World Tourism Organisation, the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. Their research shows that 46 million more overnight visitors travelled internationally in 2016 compared to 2015, despite challenges in some areas. This seems to support a previous study that travel makes us happier than buying material things.

Abercrombie & Kent is offering a Black Friday discount on an 11-day trip to Myanmar. Image: Dietmar Temps
A global study has shown that we are travelling even more than ever. Image: Dietmar Temps

2016 was the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis, and international tourist arrivals grew by 3.9% to a total of 1235 million. 300 million more international tourists travelled the world in 2016, compared with the pre-crisis record in 2008.

A global study has shown that we are travelling even more than ever.
A global study has shown that we are travelling even more than ever. Image: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

‘Tourism has shown extraordinary strength and resilience in recent years despite many challenges, particularly those related to safety and security. Yet, international travel continues to grow strongly and contribute to job creation and the well-being of communities around the world,’ said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

Plane_Airport_runway_airline_airplane
A global study has shown that we are travelling even more than ever. Image by Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

Asia and the Pacific led growth in international tourist arrivals in 2016, with Africa experiencing a strong rebound after two weaker years.

A male lion looking at the camera with a female in the background. Image: Todd Ryburn Photography
A global study has shown that we are travelling even more than ever. Image: Todd Ryburn Photography

Europe had a mixed result as a number of destinations were affected by safety and security challenges. Northern, Central and Southern Mediterranean Europe both experienced growth, while Western Europe results were flat.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris. Image by Moyan Brenn / CC BY 2.0

Asia and the Pacific recorded 24 million more international tourist arrivals in 2016 across all four sub-regions of Oceania, South Asia, Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia.

The Great Wall with a sunset glow at Jinshanling, China.
The Great Wall with a sunset glow at Jinshanling, China. Image by Chungking/Shutterstock

International tourist arrivals in all regions of the Americas increased 201 million. Growth was somewhat stronger in South America and Central America, compared with the Caribbean and North America.

Visitors dressed as Disney characters pose for a photograph during the Disney's Halloween 2016 event.
Visitors dressed as Disney characters pose for a photograph during the Disney’s Halloween 2016 event. Image by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

And finally, the Middle East received 54 million international tourist arrivals in 2016.

A global study has shown that we are travelling even more than ever. Image: Vitali Kozhar/EyeEm
A global study has shown that we are travelling even more than ever. Image: Vitali Kozhar/EyeEm

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