In this era of bitcoin and other unpredictable investment options, smart speculators should consider hedging their bets on a sector that has shown consistent growth since the 2009 global economic crisis: tourism. This is the third-largest export sector in the world and grew by a remarkable 7% in 2017. Tourism is expected to grow at a healthy rate of 4%-5% in 2018, and to continue this trend right up until 2030.
In 2017, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation, international tourist arrivals — in other words, overnight visitors travelling around the world — boomed to a record 1.3-billion people. This global tourism bonanza represents the highest growth in seven years.
Europe experienced 8% growth in international tourist arrivals in 2017, with southern and Mediterranean Europe enjoying a 13% spike despite the Las Ramblas terror attack in Barcelona and the political uncertainty around Catalonia’s bid for independence.
This suggests a resilient and mature tourism sector that is strong enough to withstand what some view as rare or isolated incidents.
Here at home we don’t yet have the final tourism figures for 2017, but the World Tourism Organisation reported that Africa attracted 8% more tourists than in 2016 — above the global average. This was led by a strong 13% surge in tourists for North Africa, which has been plagued by political instability and security issues in recent years and is experiencing a welcome recovery in its tourism sector. In sub-Saharan Africa, arrivals increased 5%, consolidating the huge rebound we saw the previous year.