Attractions industry news
21 Sep 2012
Global tourism to reach 1 billion landmark
Image: International tourism has grown by 5 per cent in 2012
With a record 467 million tourists traveling in the first half of 2012, the global tourism industry is set to reach one billion international travellers by the end of the year - for the first time ever.
The figures, from the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), suggest that despite ongoing concerns over the global economy, international tourism demand continues to show resilience.
The number of international tourists worldwide grew by 5 per cent during the six months to 2012 - compared with the same period in 2011.
Asia and the Pacific (up 8 per cent) was the fastest growing region for the total number of trips made (combining in- and outbound travel) while the return of tourist flows to Tunisia and the rest of North Africa resulted in Africa seeing a 7 per cent increase in traveller numbers.
However, the Middle East (0.7 per cent) remained stagnant, casting further worries over the sustainability of some of the ambitious tourism infrastructure being built there.
Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary general, said: "Amid the current economic uncertainty, tourism is one of the few economic sectors in the world growing strongly, driving economic progress in developing and developed countries alike and, most importantly, creating much needed jobs.
"As we lead up to the milestone of one billion, we need to ensure that the tourism sector is supported by adequate national policies and that we work to reduce existing barriers to the expansion of the sector, such as complicated visa procedures, increased direct taxation or limited connectivity."
For more details and statistics, click here.