UNWTO Press Conference: 2012 International Tourism Results and Prospects for 2013
29 January 2013, Madrid. International travel expanded in 2012, with the number of tourist arrivals across the whole world exceeding the one-billion mark for the first time ever, according to figures released by UNWTO at the Spanish FITUR tourism trade fair.
‘2012 saw continued economic volatility around the globe, particularly in the Eurozone. Yet international tourism managed to stay on course’ said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
‘The sector has shown its capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions and, although at a slightly more modest rate, is expected to continue expanding in 2013.
‘Tourism is thus one of the pillars that should be supported by governments around the world as part of the solution to stimulating economic growth.’
Europe accounted for over half of tourist arrivals in 2012 – a total of 535 million people, and a slight rise of three per cent, despite the financial uncertainty in the Eurozone.
Asia saw the steepest rise in tourist arrivals – up seven per cent on 2011 (233 million international tourists in total), while the Americas (North, Central and South America combined) witnessed a growth in numbers of four per cent (162 million people in all).
Africa enjoyed a six per cent rise in arrivals in 2012 – a solid recovery on figures for 2011, when a one per cent decline was caused by tourist fears over the Arab Spring, which affected North African destinations such as Egypt and Tunisia.
Japan saw a huge rise in tourist expenditure in 2012 as it bounced back from the earthquake of 2011. Tourist expenditure in the country during the first nine months of the year rose by 37 per cent on the same period a year earlier.
Download the UNWTO Report: 2012 International Tourism Results and Prospects for 2013 in PDF format from the right-hand panel.
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