The World Tourism Organization UNWTO has revealed that international tourist arrivals grew by 4% in the first half of 2012. The trend indicates that international tourism, even during an uncertain economy, is holding a slow steady growth path, confirmed by the tourism earnings and expenditure data. Earnings from international tourism in 2011, including international passenger transport totaled US$ 1.2 trillion or close to 6% of the world’s exports of goods and services. The November UNWTO World Tourism Barometer shows that with a record 705 million tourist arrivals up to August 2012, UNWTO is confident that one billion international tourists will have travelled the world by the end of the year. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says U.S. airline passenger numbers will reach the 1 billion mark by 2021, two years earlier than previously forecast. The FAA says international traffic to the US will grow more quickly than domestic travel, with the agency projecting the trend to continue.
UNWTO considered the current growth in tourism travel as constructive given the global economic situation but forecasts a slight slowdown in 2013. Data indicates that intentional tourism receipts surpassed US$1 trillion.
Emerging economies have regained the lead in growth and was strongest in Asia and the Pacific(7%) and Africa(6%), followed by the Americas(4%) and Europe(3%), while the Middle East continues to show signs of recovery. Despite on-going economic volatility in the Eurozone tourism shows continued growth. Compared to Central, Eastern and Western Europe, growth was weaker in Southern and Mediterranean Europe.
Among the top international markets by expenditure for travel abroad, growth in 2012 ran at (+30%)China , (+15%)Russia , (+9%) USA and Australia (+7%) in Japan, both Italy and France showed declines in the level of expenditure on travel abroad. UNWTO’s Tourism 2020 Vision forecasts that international arrivals are expected to reach nearly 1.6 billion by the year 2020. Of these worldwide arrivals in 2020, 1.2 billion will be regional, and 378 million will be long-haul travellers.