For the seventh year in a row, tourism exports grew faster than merchandise exports at an increase of three percent, reflecting solid demand for international travel in a generally robust economic environment.
Strong growth in outbound travel from many source markets around the world fuelled revenues from international tourism to reach a total USD 1,7 trillion. This accounts for 29 percent of global service exports and seven percent of overall exports of goods and services.
These figures consolidate international tourism among the top five economic sectors in the world, behind chemical manufacturing and the fuel industry but ahead of the food and automotive industries.
Total exports from international tourism include USD 1,448 billion in international tourism receipts (visitor spending in destinations) and USD 256 billion in international passenger transport services. Tourism constitutes a key source of foreign exchange and a major tool for export diversification for many destinations.
International tourism receipts increased four percent in real terms (adjusting for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation) to reach USD 1,448 billion in 2018, about USD 100 billion more than 2017. This is consistent with the six percent increase in international tourist arrivals in 2018.
By regions, Asia and the Pacific led the way with seen percent growth in international tourism receipts, followed by Europe with a five percent increase. The Middle East saw three percent growth, while Africa one percent growth and the Americas no increase recorded more modest results. Central and Eastern Europe and North-East Asia both reflected an increase of nine percent were the subregions with the strongest growth.