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Global tourism to climb again in 2013

As we speed towards a world without borders, international travel has been rising steadily – and this upward trend is set to spill over into 2013.

Global tourist numbers are forecast to jump by 3-4% this year, according to latest figures from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. In 2012, the number of international tourism arrivals smashed records as over one billion tourists were registered over the course of the year.

International arrivals increased 4% in 2012 to reach 1.035bn, and this rate of growth is forecast to continue over the next 11 months. An extra 41.4 million annual tourists across the globe are expected to add to this volume in 2013, a figure which is equivalent to the entire population of Argentina travelling overseas.

Trends witnessed in 2012 are expected to trickle into 2013. Last year, tourism growth was stronger in emerging economies (+4.1%) than in the developed world (+3.6%). While international tourist arrivals to Europe jumped 3% to 535m last year, the increase was driven by the emerging destinations of Central and Eastern Europe, which experienced an increase of 8% compared to slower growth rates in Western Europe (+3%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+2%).

Asia and the Pacific (+7% to 233m) was the best performing region, followed by the Americas (+4% to 162m), while South America (+4%), the Caribbean (+4%) and North America (+3%) continued to grow steadily. Asia and the Pacific is also expected to do well in 2013 (+5-6%), and international tourism to Africa (+4-6%) and the Americas (+3-4%) is also forecast to witness a noticeable rise.

Africa, and notably Egypt, also did well in 2012 compared with the previous year, with Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou announcing a 17% rise in travellers and a 13% rise in revenue from tourism. Although the figures show a 22% decrease in visitors from before the Arab Spring in 2010, the rise is encouraging. In response to the figures Zaazou said: “We can move close to figures of 2010 by the end of 2013. We hope to pave the way for a comeback.”

Date Created: 04 February 2013

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