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World tourism figures to reach one billion by the end of the year

A staggering 467 million tourists have already been globetrotting between January and June this year according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Typically, international tourism reaches its highest level between July and August, which indicates how many tourists there will be for the rest of the year.

John Kester of the UNWTO explains: “You don't have an even spread throughout the year. In a normal year, the first six months account for a total volume of 45% of the year.” Last year there was a total of 982 million tourists across the world and this year could be well over one billion thanks to high profile global events such as the London 2012 Olympic Games.

This year there has been a tourism increase in every region of the world. Asia showed the strongest growth, with an 8% increase on last year’s figures. Despite being the most visited region in the world, only 4% more people travelled to Europe in the first six months of the year compared to the same time in 2011.

The number of people visiting Africa also increased between January and June, by 7%. This is partly down to greater stability in Tunisa after political unrest seen last year. Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO secretary-general said: “Tourism is one of the few economic sectors in the world growing strongly, driving economic progress in developing and developed countries alike… creating much needed jobs.”

The research also highlighted how much money was spent on travel abroad, revealing that Chinese travellers spent more than any other nationality. Chinese spend on international tourism increased by 30% compared to the first six months 2011. Those heading overseas might want to consider taking travel insurance, to give themselves financial protection while abroad. .

Date Created: 17 September 2012

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