The United Nations World Tourism Organization issued its recent World Tourism Barometer, looking at which regions saw the greatest growth in 2012. Can tourism industry around the globe sustain the trends in 2013 and beyond?
UNWTO figure states global international tourist arrivals grew by 4% (roughly 39 million travelers) in 2012 to reach 1.035 billion, a new milestone in human travel. It expects similar growth in 2013, with numbers only predict between 3 and 4 percent for the year, slightly below those of 2012.
Despite a depressing outlook in international tourist arrivals to Europe, the most visited region in the world, even were up by 3%, with total arrivals reaching 535 million, 17 million more than 2011. Further, the Asia-Pacific region was up by 15 million arrivals in 2012, reaching a total of 233 million international tourists. South Asia and Oceania displayed the slowest growth at 4%.
The Americas greeted 6 million extra tourists in 2012, reaching 162 million in total, with 4% growth. Nations in Central America led the way with a 6% rise, while the Caribbean and South America experienced modest increases by 4%. Likewise, recovering from setbacks in 2011, Africa bounced back to reach a new record of 52 million tourist arrivals. However the situation in the Middle East is less rosy.
In the area of outbound tourism growth China and Russia still led the way and the UK (5%), the U.S. (7%) and Canada (7%) have the strong position. Further, comparatively smaller markets Venezuela (31%), Poland (19%), Philippines (17%), Malaysia (15%), and Saudi Arabia (14%) have considerable growth in outbound tourism.
Overall, the trend in global tourism is rising and proves to be stable. UNWTO projects the number of world travelers to reach 1.8 billion, with one out of every 10 people working either directly or indirectly for the industry. Stimulated by travelers from developing countries, UNWTO expects international tourist arrivals to increase an average of 3.8% each year through 2020, with Asia Pacific and Africa leading the way.