1bn tourists make 2012 a not so lonely planet

first_imgIt is likely there will be a billion tourists who travelled internationally this year, surpassing last year’s figure of 982 million international tourists, according to recent figures. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) released figures of a record 467 million international tourists for the period January to June this year, indicating the threshold of a billion tourists can be met in the higher season of July to August. UNWTO member John Kester said there doesn’t need to be an even spread across the year but generally the first half of the year will account for 45 percent of the total. Tourism across the board has increased around the world so far this year. The UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said tourism is one of the few economic sectors in the world growing strongly, driving economic progress in developing and developed countries alike while creating much needed jobs. Asia showed the strongest growth, up eight percent on previous year’s figures. Europe ranked as the world’s most visited region with visitors up four percent on last year’s same period. More people travelled to Africa, with the seven percent increase in part due to greater stability in countries such as Tunisia. France had 79.5 million tourists arrive last year, making it the most visited country in the world, followed by the United States with 62.3 million visits. The UNWTO report also measured spending by travellers, with figures revealing a total of $1,030 billion was spent on overseas tourism in 2011. Chinese travellers increased their spending abroad by 30 percent compared to the first half of last year, more than any other nationality. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img