Middle East, Asia record rise in international tourists in H1 2019

Middle East and Asia posted the biggest tourism growth in the first half of the year

The Middle East saw an 8% rise in international visitors
The Middle East saw an 8% rise in international visitors

International tourist arrivals rose by 4% in the first half of 2019, but trade tensions and Brexit uncertainty could hinder growth, the UN World Tourism Organisation said Monday.

Sister publication Arabian Business reported that destinations across the world recorded 671 million foreign visitors between January and June, almost 30 million more than the same period last year.

According to the report, the Middle East and Asia posted the biggest tourism growth.

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The Middle East saw an 8% rise in international visitors, due in part to an increase in demand during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year fell in May, as well as during the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday in June.

Tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific rose 6%, largely fuelled by outbound travel from China, the world's most populous country.

But the agency warned that Chinese spending on international travel was 4% lower in real terms during the first quarter.

"Trade tensions with the USA, as well as the slight depreciation of the yuan, may influence destination choice by Chinese travellers in the short term," it added.

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