Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress.
Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an increasing diversification and competition among destinations.
This global spread of tourism in industrialized and developed states has produced economic and employment benefits in many related sectors – from construction to agriculture or telecommunications.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) destinations around the world welcomed 1.1 billion international tourists between January and October 2017. This represents a 7% increase on the same period in 2016, or 70 million more international arrivals. Strong demand for international tourism across world regions reflects the global economic upswing. But these number are small compared to future forecasts. By 2030, the UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to reach 1.8 billion as a growing middle class in Asia changes the metrics of the industry.