2013 seems to be a really good year in what tourism is concerned. According to data released by UNWTO, international tourist arrivals grew by 5% during the first half of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012.
An estimated 494 million overnight visitors were welcomed in the first six months of 2013 around the world as specified by the Advance Edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer that was just launched. The 5% growth exceeded UNWTO’s projections, and Europe had a surprising growth rate of 5%, with Central and Eastern Europe leading the international tourist arrivals growth with 10%, followed by Southern and Mediterranean Europe with a 6% growth. In what Asia and the Pacific area is concerned, they saw a 6% growth (South-East Asia had a +12% and South Asia registered a +7%), while the Americas saw only a +2% (South America and the Caribbean lagged behind).
The general 5% growth in international tourist arrivals is above UNWTO’s projections and followed the last years’ trend, being stronger in emerging economy destinations (+6%) than in advanced economies (+4%). Africa had a 4% growth, and the Middle East had an estimated increase in international arrivals of 13%, an increase that should however be treated with caution as it varies from country to country and the result was gathered from limited available data (available up to June only).
“The fact that international tourism grew above expectations confirms that travelling is now part of consumer patterns for an increasing number of people in both emerging and advanced economies” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “This underlines the need to rightly place tourism as one of the key pillars of socio-economic development, being a leading contributor to economic growth, exports and jobs.”
When it comes to expenditure on travel abroad, China (+31%) and Russia (+22%) led the group, while the expenditure from traditional markets was modest, with Canada (+3%) and France (+2%) leading the growth.