Africa earns $US 3bn as int’l tourism receipts hits new record

Posted: May 11, 2012 in travel & tourism

Global tourism monitoring agency, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s World Tourism Barometer, has announced that international tourism receipts continued to recover from the losses of crisis year 2009 and hit new records in most destinations, reaching an estimated US$1,030 billion worldwide, up from US$928 billion in 2010.

The report also put the total sum earnings by destinations in Africa, including Nigeria, at over US$ 33 billion, a figure it said represented a 3 percent share growth from the previous estimation.

In real terms (adjusted for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation), international tourism receipts grew by 3.8 percent, while international tourist arrivals increased by 4.6 percent in 2011 to 982 million. This confirms the close correlation between both indicators, with growth of receipts tending to lag slightly behind growth of arrivals in times of economic constraints.

“These are encouraging results,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The past two years have shown healthy demand for international tourism out of many markets, even though economic recovery has been uneven. This is particularly important news for countries facing fiscal pressure and weak domestic consumption, where international tourism, a key export and a labor intensive activity, is increasingly strategic to balancing external deficits and stimulating employment.”

“We trust that governments worldwide will progressively recognize this and engage in measures that support tourism including fairer tax policies and the facilitation of visas and travelers’ movements, as these have proven to stimulate economic growth and job creation,” he added.

By regions, the Americas (+5.7 percent) recorded the largest increase in receipts in 2011, followed by Europe (+5.2 percent), Asia and the Pacific (+4.3 percent), and Africa (+2.2 percent). The Middle East was the only region posting negative growth (-14 percent).

Europe holds the largest share of international tourism receipts in absolute numbers (45 percent share), reaching US$463 billion in 2011, followed by Asia and the Pacific (28 percent share or US$289 billion, and the Americas (19 percent share or US$ 199 billion. The Middle East (4 percent share) earned US$46 billion, and Africa (3 percent share), US$ 33 billion.

Aside from international tourism receipts (the travel item of the Balance of Payment), tourism also generates export earnings through international passenger transport. The latter amounted to an estimated US$196 billion in 2011, bringing total receipts generated by international tourism to US$1.2 trillion, or US$3.4 billion a day on average.

As a result, international tourism (travel and passenger transport) currently accounts for 30 percent of the world’s exports of services and 6 percent of overall exports of goods and services. As a worldwide export category, tourism ranks fourth after fuels, chemicals and food, while ranking first in many developing countries.

According to the UNWTO report, both advanced and emerging economy destinations benefited from the 2011 growth in arrivals and receipts. Destinations where international tourism receipts grew by US$5 billion or more in absolute terms include the United States (increasing by US$13 billion to US$116 billion), Spain (by US$7 billion to US$60 billion), France (by US$7 billion to US$54 billion), Thailand (by US$6 billion to US$26 billion), and Hong Kong (China) (by US$5 billion to US$27 billion).

Furthermore, significant increases on lower base value destinations were reported by Singapore, the Russian Federation, Sweden, India, the Republic of Korea, and Turkey.


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