Tourism walks tall amid economic ruins – UNWTO

Posted: November 14, 2013 in travel & tourism

unwtoWhile many industries around the world practically struggled to stay afloat amid economic uncertainty, global tourism continued its rapid growth over the first eight months of 2013, when a whopping 747 million people crossed an international border and proved all UNWTO forecast wrong.

That is 38 million more people than last year over the same time period, and well above the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s initial forecast of 3.5 per cent growth.

“Despite a sluggish world economy, international tourism continues to surprise by producing average results in most world regions, offering vital opportunities for employment and local economies,” UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said at the opening of the European Tourism Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania.

“This is particularly important for Europe, where the economy has significantly much weaker than other parts of the world, unemployment is a major concern in many destinations, and where the tourism sector has been a source of job growth during the last decade.

“Through its value chain, tourism creates businesses and jobs in many other sectors and produces significant export revenues which contribute favourably to the balance of payments in many countries,” Rifai added.

The latest edition of the UN World Tourism Barometer showed that Europe had benefitted the most from tourism and its allied services in all regions over the first eight months of 2013, with an estimated 20 million more arrivals than in 2012.

Though its increase of 5 percent put it in line with the global average, such a high figure in such a large and mature region is very positive, UNWTO said. By sub-regions, Central and Eastern Europe saw even bigger gains at 7 per cent, while tourism in economically depressed Southern and Mediterranean Europe grew by 6 per cent.

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