International tourist inflows to New Zealand has increased in recent years with Chinese travelers being the top additions. Last year three million people visited the country and the number could soon exceed the local population. This is bringing economic prosperity and travel jobs yet is exerting pressure on local people. This difference is felt most starkly in the South Island where towns’ population is not much in comparison with tourists. Queenstown, Christchurch and Wanaka witness a deluge of Chinese visitors in particular in the month of February. This puts massive environmental and cultural pressure on the local populace.

In spite of terror threats, the tourism industry continued its bullish run. Tourism consulting provided by the UNWTO claims that total international tourists climbed up to 1.18 billion recording a 4.4% rise. France remained the top destination followed by the likes of the USA, China and Spain. Chinese tourists remained the top international travelers thus benefiting regional powers such as Thailand and Japan. The weakening of the Euro in turn benefitted Americans’ travel plans to Europe further aided by decrease in oil prices which led to reduction in travel costs. Terror attacks that hit France, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Mali and others did put temporary blocks to tourism but it rebounded on some occasions. Russia and Brazil were two countries that witnessed decline reflecting the economic downturn in those nations.

Africa is experiencing healthy growth in tourism numbers, yet has not achieved full capacity. The continent has experienced the second highest growth in the sector only behind south-east Asia. More than 8% of Africa’s GDP is generated from the tourism industry. In fact there exist twenty million travel jobs in Africa at present. Countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Senegal, Algeria and Botswana are the regional giants. In addition, countries like Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea are fast rising up the ranks. The country of Cote d’Ivoire has been cited by a study as a potential top tourism destination.

The tourism sector is all set to gain importance within the Chinese economy. For the first time ever, annual investment in the industry has topped a trillion Yuan. This figure represents a forty two percent rise on previous year. The Chinese people are now also the top travelers globally with about one hundred and twenty million foreign trips and four billion domestic ones. Tourism consulting provided by the WTTC estimates that more than a tenth of China’s economy could derive from the tourism sector thus surpassing the banking, automobile and education sectors.

The travel and tourism sector in the USA has seen growth consecutively for the last twenty two quarters. More than a million tourism jobs lost during the recession have been recovered as a result. In fact employment in the sector grew by more than 2 percent in the final quarter of 2015. Similarly more than a trillion and a half US dollars worth of revenue is being produced annually. The price of individual trips has come down due to advantages of scale.

2015 was an eventful year in the world of tourism in Africa. Several business innovations got flagged off while certain fails were also registered. The Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has set up tourism information desks at strategic airports. Nigerian tourists are being also being courted by Kenya. The country has also witnessed launch of several travel apps by Google. The famous George Boutique Hotel opened up this year in Lagos. A tourism consulting body in South Africa conducted a workshop to battle xenophobia and to educate guests regarding the same.

Tourism retail giants such as TUI, Thomas Cook and Monarch are revamping their packaged tours to cater to newer trends and demands. TUI for example has started a flight cum tourism package for Iceland which is really trending these days. In addition, they have launched packages for Costa Rica where British Airways has launched flights. Thomas Cook has finalized packages for long trips to the US mainly from Manchester. Tourism consulting provided by OnePoll suggests that holidays have reduced in duration of days but increased in terms of number of times taken. Cuba, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean region are expected to do well this year. Dubai as a market will stagnate. Security fears have meant that traditional biggies Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey will struggle this year paving the way for Greece to grab the Mediterranean segment.

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