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UNWTO World Tourism Barometer

The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer monitors short-term tourism trends on a regular basis to provide global tourism stakeholders with up-to-date analysis on international tourism.

The report is published four times a year and includes an analysis of the latest data on tourism destinations (inbound tourism) and source markets (outbound tourism). The Barometer also includes a Confidence Index based on the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts survey, which provides an evaluation of recent performance and short-term prospects on international tourism.

UNWTO Member States, Associate Members and Affiliate Members receive the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer as a part of member's service.

Barometer Issues - May 2020 Volume 18

  • BarometerThe world is facing an unprecedented global health, social and economic emergency with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Travel and tourism is among the most affected sectors with airplanes on the ground, hotels closed and travel restrictions put in place in virtually all countries around the world.
  • In an unprecedented blow to the tourism sector, the COVID-19 pandemic has cut international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2020 to a fraction of what they were a year ago.
  • Available data points to a double-digit decrease of 22% in Q1 2020, with arrivals in March down by 57%. This translates into a loss of 67 million international arrivals and about USD 80 billion in receipts.
  • Prospects for the year have been downgraded several times since the outbreak in view of the high level of uncertainty.
  • Current scenarios point to declines of 58% to 78% in international tourist arrivals for the year, depending on the speed of the containment and the duration of travel restrictions and shutdown of borders, although the outlook remains highly uncertain (the scenarios are not forecasts and should not be interpreted as such). 
  • The scenarios reflect three possible patterns of monthly change in arrivals from April to December 2020 supposing that travel restrictions start to be lifted and national borders opened in early July (Scenario 1: -58%), in early September (Scenario 2: -70%) or in early December (Scenario 3: -78%).
  • These scenarios would put 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk.
  • This is by far the worst result in the historical series of international tourism since 1950 and would put an abrupt end to a 10-year period of sustained growth since the 2009 financial crisis.
  • Sentiment expressed by the UNWTO Panel of Experts points to a start of the recovery of international demand mostly in 2021. According to Panel Experts from around the world, domestic demand would recover faster than international demand.
  • Considerable challenges remain ahead, starting with the unknown duration of the pandemic and travel restrictions, in a context of global economic recession. Countries around the world are implementing a wide range of measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and to stimulate the recovery of the tourism sector.

Barometer Issues - Jan 2020 Volume 18

Growth in international tourist arrivals continues to outpace the economy


  • International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide grew 4% in 2019 to reach 1.5 billion, based on data reported by destinations around the world.
  • 2019 was another year of strong growth, although slower compared to the exceptional rates of 2017 (+6%) and 2018 (+6%). Demand was slower mainly in advanced economies and particularly in Europe.
  • Uncertainty surrounding Brexit, geopolitical and trade tensions, and the global economic slowdown, weighed on growth. 2019 was also the year of major shifts in the sector with the collapse of Thomas Cook and of several low-cost airlines in Europe.
  • All regions enjoyed an increase in arrivals. The Middle East (+8%) led growth, followed by Asia and the Pacific (+5%). International arrivals in Europe and Africa (both +4%) increased in line with the world average, while the Americas saw growth of 2%.
  • As per the main source markets, France reported the strongest increase in international tourism expenditure among the top ten markets, while the United States led growth in absolute terms.
  • Based on current trends, economic prospects and the UNWTO Confidence Index, UNWTO forecasts a growth of 3% to 4% in international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2020.

World Tourism Barometer Volume 18 January 2020

World Tourism Barometer - Volume 17- Issues 4 - Nov 2019

Solid growth in international arrivals in January-September 2019, though uneven across regions

  • International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew 4% in January-September 2019 compared to the same period last year, with mixed performance among world regions.
  • The Middle East (+9%) led growth followed by Asia and the Pacific and Africa (both +5%). Europe (+3%) and the Americas (+2%) enjoyed a more moderate increase.
  • The global economic slowdown, trade tensions and rising geopolitical challenges, social unrest, prolonged uncertainty about Brexit and lower business confidence have weighed on growth in international tourism.
  • The collapse of major travel group Thomas Cook and some small European airlines temporarily affected some key tourism destinations, particularly in Europe and the Americas.
  • As per the main source markets, the United States led growth in international tourism expenditure in absolute terms, supported by a strong dollar. France reported the strongest increase among the top ten markets, reflecting for the second consecutive year a surging demand while China, the world’s top source market saw outbound trips increased by 14% in the first half of 2019, though expenditure fell 4% compared to the same period last year.

World Tourism Barometer Volume 17 November 2019

UNWTO Tourism Highlights

UNWTO Tourism HighlightsUNWTO Tourism Highlights presents a concise overview of international tourism in the world based on the results for the year 2019. The booklet includes:

  • Key trends in international tourism in 2019
  • Results by (sub)region and country of destination
  • World’s top tourism destinations
  • Outbound tourism by region and top spenders

UNWTO Tourism Highlights

EU Tourism Trends

EU Tourism TrendsEnhancing the Understanding of European Tourism is a joint project by UNWTO and the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission (DG GROW). The project aims to improve the socio-economic knowledge of the tourism sector, enhance the understanding of European tourism and contribute towards economic growth, job creation, thus improving the competitiveness of the sector in Europe. The project includes four components:

1. Increased cooperation and capacity building in tourism statistics
2. Assessment of tourism market trends
3. Promotion of cultural tourism through the Western Silk Road
4. Promotion of sustainable, responsible, accessible and ethical tourism

The project was co-financed with COSME funds.

Download the report European Union Tourism Trends

See below the latest issue of UNWTO European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends as well as related news releases:

UNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism Trends

UUNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism TrendsNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism Trends 2018 Edition, the fifth annual report in the series, highlights the rapidly growing tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific. In recognition of the European Union-China Tourism Year 2018, the second chapter examines international tourism flows between China, the largest Asian economy, and the 28 countries of the European Union. The present edition also features a chapter on the Greater Bay Area, a landmark initiative to merge eleven cities in the Pearl River Delta, and the impact that its infrastructure will have on tourism in the region.

UNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism Trends

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Outbound Travel Market with Special Focus on Europe as a Tourism Destination

The Gulf Cooperation CouncilThe ETC/UNWTO publication on The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Outbound Travel Market with Special Focus on Europe as a Tourism Destination provides a thorough analysis on the current and potential performance of the GCC outbound travel market, comprising six countries. The report also provides in-depth insight into the three main markets, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, through interviews with the consumer and travel trade. The report concludes with specific recommendations on how to position and market the destination Europe to GCC tourists.

Download The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Outbound Travel Market

Tourism in the BSEC region

Tourism in the BSEC regionThe Organization of the Black Sea Economics Cooperation (BSEC) is composed of 12 Member States in Europe, encompassing the territory of the Black Sea littoral States, the Balkans and the Caucasus. Eight are located within the UNWTO subregion of Central ans Eastern Europe; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation and Ukraine, and four are within the sub-region of Southern ans Mediterranean Europe: Albania, Greece, Serbia and Turkey.

The group represents a market of 333 million consumers and a combined GDP of US$ 2.8 trillion (as of 2016), accounting for 14% of Europe's economy and 4% of the world's. Development and income levels vary substantially across the region.

Download Tourism in the BSEC region

Guidelines for Success in the Chinese Outbound Tourism Market

Guidelines for Success in the Chinese Outbound Tourism MarketThe Chinese outbound tourism market is already very strong and has huge potential to grow further still. These guidelines from the China Tourism Academy and UNWTO offer valuable insights into the factors motivating Chinese tourists to travel. It also presents a valuable toolkit to guide destination managers and decision makers on the best way to tap into this lucrative and productive market.

Download Guidelines for Success in the Chinese Outbound Tourism Market