International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by c,lose to 6% in the first two months of 2012; demand remained strong in both advanced and emerging economy destinations, despite economic constraints in many of the source markets of Europe and North America. (5.7%)
The first results of 2012 indicate that international
tourism continued to show sustained growth in spite of challenging economic
conditions. During the first two months of 2012, international tourist arrivals
grew by an estimated 5.7% compared to the same period of 2011, according to the
May issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, released in Batumi, Georgia on
the occasion of the 54th UNWTO Commission for Europe.
In Europe (+5%) results were above expectations, boosted
by the strong growth in arrivals to Central and Eastern Europe (+8%) as well as
to destinations of Northern Europe and Western Europe (both +6
At the same time, international tourism has been
particular buoyant in many emerging economy destinations in Eastern Europe.
“Eastern European destinations have strong tourism potential provided they
shape the adequate conditions. Georgia, this year’s host of the UNWTO
Commission for Europe, is a remarkable example of a destination with a strong
commitment towards tourism development,” said Mr. Taleb Rifai.
“As a result, arrivals have almost tripled in the past
five years, from just below a million in 2006 to close to 3 million in 2011,
with international tourism receipts reaching almost US$ 1 billion in 2011.”
In the first months of 2012, growth was positive in all
regions, with the exception of the Middle East (-1%), where there were
nonetheless encouraging signs of recovery, such as in Egypt (+32% in the first
quarter). South-East Asia and South Asia (both at +10%) led growth by
Africa was the fastest-growing region with an increase of
over 7% in international tourist arrivals thanks to continued growth in
Sub-Saharan Africa (+7%) and a clear rebound in North Africa (+8%) as Tunisia
(+53% in the first quarter) started to recover. Asia and the Pacific saw a 7%
increase in tourist arrivals, led by South Asia and South-East Asia (both
+10%). North-East Asia (+6%) recorded higher growth as well, with arrivals to
Japan up by almost 10% in the first quarter. The Americas also reported
significant growth (+6%), driven by the sustained strong demand in South
America (+8%) and Central America (+7%).
Worldwide, international tourist arrivals surpassed 131
million in the first two months of 2012, up from 124 million in the same period
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