The latest data available from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) show an increase in global travel by 5 percent. But one country is lagging behind the global average this year.
The Americas recorded the strongest growth with 6 percent with Europe and the Pacific’s growth standing at 5 percent. In terms of sub regions, Northern Europe and South Asia with 8 percent each outpaced all the other regions of the globe. However, Africa’s international tourist numbers grew well under average by only 3% as the recovery consolidated in North Africa with Egypt returning to stability (+4%).
The current Ebola outbreak appears to affect tourism to the region, and in particular West Africa has taken a hit in arrival numbers due to misperceptions about the transmission of the virus. Said Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO: “The main focus at the moment is on taking and supporting action to contain the virus. But we must also ensure that misperceptions do not unnecessarily harm the African economy, in particular its travel and tourism sector, which is a central activity in many countries. We would like to stress that the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend any ban on international travel. Putting a halt on flights or imposing unnecessary travel restrictions will not help contain the virus. On the contrary, these measures will surely dampen the economy of the region, especially its travel and tourism sector, and jeopardize millions of livelihoods.”
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