International tourists globally grew by six per cent to 598 million in the first six months of this year, the strongest such growth in seven years.
According to the latest UNWTO Tourism Barometer, the tourist numbers were 36 million more than in the same period in 2016.
The first half of the year usually accounts for about 46 per cent of total annual international arrivals. The second half of the year, longer by three days, and including the Northern Hemisphere high season months of July and August usually has more tourists.
“The first half of 2017 shows healthy growth in an increasingly dynamic and resilient tourism market, including a strong recovery in some of destinations impacted by security challenges last year,” said UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai.
The first-half of the year results, were underpinned by robust growth in many destinations and a continuation of the recovery in those that suffered declines in previous years.
Of UNWTO regions, growth was strongest in the Middle East at nine per cent, Europe and Africa at eight per cent, Asia and Pacific at six per cent and Americas at three per cent.
Locally, the Kenya Tourism Board recently said tourist numbers might hit the 1.5 million mark this year, bolstered by a rise in international arrivals.
Last year, international visitors to the country increased by 16.7 per cent to 877,602 up from 752,073 arrivals in 2015. The country also received 429,749 cross border visitors putting the total combined arrivals last year 1.3 million tourists, a 10 per cent growth from the previous year.
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