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Strong Start of International Tourism in 2012

News The overall number of international arrivals added 5.7% during the first two months of 2012. This information is stated in the May issue of World Tourism Barometer. The growth of demand is strong in either emerging economies or advanced ones. This is definitely a good sign as Europe and North America still have many economic challenges.

Europe tops the list of countries with growing international tourism. Here the results are even better than forecasts of experts. The overall increase in the number of arrivals in Europe is 5%. This figure is not the same for different parts of the continent. For example, Eastern and Central Europe feature the highest growth, 8%, while the result of Western and Northern Europe is more modest – 6%. 2012 follows the trend of 2011 and its solid growth, when Europe was visited by more than 500 million visitors. Demand was surprisingly high even in the countries of Western, Central and Southern Europe that are known to have large concerns about their economies.

Other destinations across the world also show encouraging results. However, there are exceptions like the Middle East that is 1% down. Such subregions as South Asia and Southeast Asia feature the growth of up to 10%. Overall performance of Asia and the Pacific is +7% in tourist arrivals comparing to the previous year. Northeast Asia added 6% and Japan is 10% higher in the first quarter of this year. The growth of arrivals to the Americas is approximately 6%.

The total number of international tourist arrivals exceeded 131 million during January and February of 2012. This is 7 million arrivals more than during the same period of 2011. The growth of this figure for the whole year is expected to be 3-4%. Thus, for the first time international tourist arrivals are expected to reach a milestone of one billion.


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