Chapter One Introduction
Tourism has become one of the main stars of the global economy in the last years (by tourism, and as it is explained in the next chapter, we understand all of those activities that allow us to know places outside from our regular living place).
Over the last decades, tourism has experienced a very important growth and evolution, becoming one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, contributing in a big portion to the PIB of several countries, especially those in development (UNWTO, n.d.).;
Many new destinations have emerged in addition to the traditional favorites of Europe and North America; an example of this are Thailand, Iceland, and Brazil, becoming a key driver for socio-economic progress in these regions.
According to the World Tourism Organization, the volume of tourism business around the globe can even surpass the oil exports, food products or automobiles. “Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce. This growth goes hand in hand with an increasing diversification and competition among destinations” (UNWTO, n.d.). Even when it is a truth that as an economic activity, travel, and tourism are relatively young, today, tourism generates 10% of the world’s GDP, 1 in every 10 jobs and 30% of world trade in services.
1.2 Current Status
1.2.1 International status
International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) in 2016 grew by 3.9% to reach a total of 1,235 million worldwide, an increase of 46 million over the previous year. It was the seventh consecutive year of growth in international tourism following the 2009 global economic crisis. A comparable sequence of uninterrupted solid growth has not been recorded since the 1960s. Demand for international tourism followed the positive trend of previous years, with many destinations reporting sound results, while a few faced security incidents. Some redirection of tourism flows was observed, though most destinations shared in the overall growth due to stronger travel demand, increased connectivity and more affordable air transport. By UNWTO region, Asia and the Pacific led growth in 2016 with a 9% increase in international arrivals, followed by Africa (+8%) and the Americas (+3%). The world’s most visited region, Europe (+2%) showed mixed results, while available data for the Middle East (-4%) points to a decline in arrivals. International tourism receipts grew by 2.6% in real terms (taking into account exchange rate fluctuations and inflation) with total earnings in the destinations estimated at US$ 1,220 billion worldwide in 2016 (euro 1,102 billion). France, the United States, Spain and China continued to top the international arrivals ranking in 2016. In receipts, the US and Spain remain at the top, followed by Thailand, which climbed to number 3 last year, and China, which is fourth. France and Italy moved up in receipts to 5th and 6th position respectively, while the Unit