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UNWTO Reports Tourism Growth in 2012

News In 2012, the total number of international tourist arrivals grew by 4% and reached 1.035 billion. This information is stated in the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer report.

If analyzing by region, Asia Pacific was the best performer with the growth of international arrivals of 7%. If analyzing by sub-regions, Southeast Asia and North Africa featured the best result (both +9%), followed by Central and Eastern Europe (+8%).

According to the forecast of UNWTO, international tourism will keep growing in 2013, and is likely to add 3-4%. This forecast is in line with the global forecast of the organization – each year between 2010 and 2020 international tourism will add 3.8%. The prospect by region shows strong domination of Asia and Pacific regions. They are expected to add 5-6% in 2013. Africa doesn’t lose its position as one of the most popular tourist destinations in recent years and is expected in add from 4% to 6% this year. The Americas and Europe somewhat lag behind with a lot more modest forecasts - +3-4% and +2-3% respectively. The Middle East will remain almost flat in 2013, according to the forecast by UNWTO.

The report also covers such theme as “openness” of countries in terms of visa requirements. One of the reasons why Asia and the Pacific countries attract more tourists is in simplified visa requirements. Currently, 20% of the world’s population can enter these countries without visa. 19% more can get a visa on arrival, and 7% of the world’s population can get an eVisa. These figures for the Americas are a bit smaller – 31%, 8%, and 1% respectively. European countries remain the “least open” in terms of visa requirements. Even though 21% of the world’s population can enter these countries without any visa, only 6% can get a visa on arrival, and there is no eVisa policy at all. Simplifying visa policy will lead to additional US$206 billion revenues in tourism and 5.1 million additional jobs.


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