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International tourism up by 5 -pct in the first half of the year: WTO
22 Sep, 2014 08:45:03
Sep 22, 2014 (LBO) - International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6 percent in the first six months of 2014 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the world tourism organization, a United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism said in a media release.
“These results show that tourism is consolidating the positive performance of recent years, providing development and economic opportunities worldwide,” Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UN World Tourism orgernization was quoted in the press release.

“Indeed, despite geopolitical and economic challenges, the number of international tourist arrivals has grown by five percent a year on average since 2010, a trend that has translated into more economic growth, more exports and more jobs.”

The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer is a regular publication of the Tourism Trends and Marketing Strategies Programme of UNWTO aimed at monitoring the short-term evolution of tourism and providing the sector with relevant and timely information.

According to the data destinations worldwide received about 517 million international tourists between January to June 2014, up from 22 million in the same period of 2013.

The report says growth was strongest in the America (+6%) followed by Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +5%). By subregion, South Asia and Northern Europe (both +8%) were the best performers, together with North-East Asia and Southern Mediterranean Europe (both +7%).

UNWTO expects the international tourist arrivals will increase by four percent to 4.5 percent worldwide in the end of 2014, above UNWTO’s long-term forecast of 3.8 percent per year for the period of 2010 to 2020.

Leader in growth

Growth picked up above six percent in the America, the statement said. All four sub regions benefited, with North America, boosted by Mexico, Central and South America all increasing by six percent, and the Caribbean by five percent.

In South America (+6%), the hosting of the Football World Cup in Brazil contributed to the positive results in the sub region – receipts from international tourism in Brazil grew by 10 percent in the first seven months of the year with a 60 percent increase in June and July.

Asia and the Pacific (+5%) consolidated the trend of recent years, with South Asia (+8%) and North-East Asia (+7%) in the lead and major destinations such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia posting double-digit growth rates.

The region has been benefiting from ongoing economic growth, continuous investment in infrastructure and visa facilitation measures.

Europe (+5%), the most visited region in the world, continued the strong pace of growth of 2013, driven so far this year by Northern Europe (+8%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+7%).

These results reflect improved consumer confidence in Europe and the rebound of important traditional European source markets.

Africa’s international tourist numbers grew by three percent as the recovery consolidated in North Africa (+4%). Yet the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak might affect tourism to the region due to misperceptions about the transmission of the virus.

“The main focus at the moment is on taking and supporting action to contain the virus,” Rifai was quoted.

“But we must also ensure that misperceptions do not unnecessarily harm the African economy, in particular its travel and tourism sector, which is a central activity in many countries,”

“We would like to stress that the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend any ban on international travel. Putting a halt on flights or imposing unnecessary travel restrictions will not help contain the virus,”

“On the contrary, these measures will surely dampen the economy of the region, especially its travel and tourism sector, and jeopardize millions of livelihoods.”

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East are estimated to be down by four percent though this figure should be taken with caution as it is based on limited available data for the region.

Source markets: advanced economies consolidate rebound

In terms of source markets, data for the first half of 2014 shows a consolidation of the rebound in spending in travel abroad registered in 2013 in some advanced economies.

Expenditure out of the Italian and Australian markets was up eight percent and seven percent, respectively, while the US market was up by five percent.

Data for France and Canada indicates a three percent increase.

Demand generated by emerging markets also continues to be strong, though decelerating as compared to 2013.

Chinese outbound expenditure was up 16 percent in the first half of the year as compared to 26 percent in the whole of 2013, while expenditure out of the Russian Federation was up by four percent as compared to 25 percent last year.

Source : Press Release by UN WTO

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