International tourist arrivals grew by 4.0% in the first half of 2019, while trade issues and Brexit could hinder further rise, the UN World Tourism Organisation said.
Worldwide destinations received 671 million foreign visitors between January and June, almost 30 million more than in the same period last year, United Nations said in a statement.
The increase in international arrivals during the first half of the year was driven by “a strong economy, affordable air travel, increased air connectivity and enhanced visa facilitation,” the statement said.
But it warned that “prolonged uncertainty” about Britain’s looming exit from the European Union, weaker economic indicators and global trade tensions “have started to take a toll on business and consumer confidence”.
The Middle East and Asia posted the biggest tourism growth.
The Middle East saw an 8.0 percent rise in international visitors, due in part to an increase in demand during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year fell in May, as well as during the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday in June.
For the whole of 2019, the agency predicts the number of international tourist arrivals will grow by three to four percent, in line with historical trends, after increasing by 6.0 percent in 2018 and by 7.0 percent in 2017.