Greece and Portugal lead league for growth in tourist arrivals, WTTC reports

Tourist arrivals into Greece and Portugal are expected to be up by more than 20% year-on-year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Spain, the second most popular destination in the world, is also set to see with arrivals rise by 13%.

WTTC president and chief executive Julia Simpson, speaking at the ITB trade show in Berlin, described the sector as “booming”. 

“Compared to last year, we’re already seeing double digit growth in visitor numbers from key source markets such as the UK, Spain, and Greece,” she said.

“Further afield, our data shows more travellers from the U.S. will visit Germany this year than last.

“Across Europe, we’re seeing massive increases in the number of international arrivals.  

“2024 is set to be not just a bumper year for tourism here in Germany, but for Europe and the world.”

But Simpson added: “WTTC data shows that our sector was responsible for 8.1% of global emissions in 2019. That’s why our sector’s efforts towards more sustainable fuels like SAF, biodiesel, and alternative marine fuels are so important.

“We as a sector must also embrace future technologies and most importantly, the AI revolution. 

“The effect of AI on travel and tourism will be more profound than any technological development since the invention of the world wide web.”

“Travel and tourism was forecast to account for 9.2 % of global GDP in 2023 or $9.5 trillion, employing 320 million people or one in 11 jobs around the world. 

“Our vast contribution to the global economy is also set to grow,” Simpson added.

“By 2033, more than one in nine jobs worldwide will be in this sector. In just nine years, we will account for 11.6 % of global GDP. And over the coming decade, travel and tourism will grow at double the rate of the wider economy.

“Travel is one of the great accelerators of global development. And yet, economics alone cannot capture the value of travel and tourism. 

“Travel is a force for good in so many profound yet hard-to-quantify ways. At a time of political polarisation, it leads people to common ground. At a time of ecological collapse, it teaches the sanctity and majesty of the natural world.

“But just as travel is best undertaken with eyes and minds open, we must be open-eyed about the challenges we face.”

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