Despite a global economy in ‘low gear’ international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew by 5% for 2013. Destinations around the world welcomed some 52 million additional visitors, raising the total to a record 1,087 million, up from 1,035 million in 2012.
This is according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer‘s preliminary full year data report for 2013, released mid-January 2014. The report forecasts a 4% to 4.5% growth for 2014 – again, above long-term forecast projections +3.8% per year between 2010 and 2020.
According to the report, 2014 regional prospects are stongest for Asia and the Pacific (5% to +6%) and Africa (+4% to +6%), followed by Europe and the America’s (both +3% to +4%). The Middle East prospects are also positive (0% to +5%) but volatile.
Africa attracted three million additional international tourist arrivals during 2013, reaching a new record of 56 million, reflecting the on-going rebound in North Africa (+6%) and the sustained growth of Subsaharan destinations (+5%).
In terms of outbound source markets, Russia and China are leading growth.
China, which became the largest outbound market in 2012 with an expenditure of US$ 102 billion, continued its surge, increasing by 28% in the first three quarters of 2013. The Russian Federation, which moved up to 5th largest outbound market in 2013, reported a 26% increase through September.
Other emerging markets with substantial growth in outbound expenditure were Turkey (+24%), Egypt (+23%), Qatar (+18%), Philippines (+18%), Colombia (+16%), Kuwait (+15%), Indonesia (+15%), Ukraine (+15%) and Brazil (+14%).
The performance of key advanced economy source markets was comparatively modest. France (+6%) recovered from a weak 2012 and the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia all grew at 3%. In contrast, Germany, Japan and Italy reported declines in outbound expenditure.
“The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, sets the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver in their commitment to fair and sustainable growth,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
More detailed Facts & Figures available at www.unwto.org/facts/menu.html