PA Had Biggest Spike in Tourism in Early ’17, Says U.N.

Ramallah. (Flash90)

Over 369 million people all over the world went on vacation in the first four months of 2017 – 6 percent more than during the same period in 2016. But the destinations these tourists visited were in many cases not the most restful, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Of the destinations with the largest growth, several of the destinations were areas that currently or recently experienced unrest, including Tunisia, Egypt and Nicaragua.

The place with the biggest increase of tourists in the first four months of 2017 over the previous year, however, was in perhaps one of the most surprising places on earth – the Palestinian Authority. The PA experienced a 57.8 percent increase in the number of tourists during the period, with 400,000 people visiting it this year. In second place was Egypt, which has experienced years of terrorism against tourists by Islamist groups. Nevertheless, tourism in the first four months of 2017 was 51 percent higher than in the same period in the previous year, with a total of 5.26 million entries by tourists.

Other “exotic” areas on the list included Tunisia, in fifth place, with a 32.5 percent increase in tourism for the period, Nicaragua in eighth place with a 28.4 percent increase, and Mongolia, which saw 28.3 percent more tourists in the period this year. Israel, also, made it to the top 10, with 2.9 million tourists entering the country during the period, 25.1 percent more than a year earlier.

The data on the number of tourists to countries around the world is compiled by UNWTO every four months, and is submitted by tourism officials in all U.N member countries. According to the organization, the increase in the number of tourists in the January-April period of 2017 is the greatest in the past 12 years.