International tourism – an engine for economic recovery -UNWTOListen /
International tourism grew by 5% in the first nine months of 2013 to reach a record 845 million worldwide, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
The number of international tourist arrivals reported by destinations around the world increased by some 41 million between January and September, growing above UNWTO's initial forecast and creating an important stimulus to the receiving economies.
UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai says "International tourism continues to grow above expectations, supporting economic growth in both advanced and emerging economies and bringing much needed support to job creation, GDP and the balance of payments of many destinations".
He adds "It is particularly encouraging to see the strong results in many European destinations, where the tourism sector is, undoubtedly, one of the engines of the economic recovery".
Figures released by the UNWTO show Europe was the world's most visited region, beating expectations with international tourist arrivals up by 6% led by results in Central and Eastern Europe up 7% and Southern and Mediterranean Europe up+6%. This growth exceeds the initial forecast for 2013 and is double the average growth rate of international tourism in Europe since 2000.
Asia and the Pacific (+6%) continued to show robust results, bolstered by South-East Asia (+12%).
The Americas (+3%) reported comparatively weaker results, with better performance in North America (+4%) and Central America and (+3%).
Donn Bobb, United Nations.