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International Tourism Demand Exceeds Forecasts

News First half of 2013 exceeded expectations of UNWTO in terms of the number of international tourists. Comparing to the same period of 2012, international tourist arrivals grew by 5%, closely reaching a tremendous figure – 500 million. The growth was higher than the organization’s forecasts of 3-4%. Currently, the growth of tourist arrivals outperforms the UNWTO Tourism Forwards 2030 program (the growth of 3.8% a year).

During first six months of 2013, hotels around the world served as many as 494 million overnight visitors. That means another 25 million tourists comparing to January-June 2012. Emerging economies post higher growth rate (+6%) than leading economies (+4%), maintaining the trend of recent years. If describing by region, the picture is quite mixed. Europe posted surprisingly strong results (+5%), better than it expected from a region with crisis. The gain was mostly geared up by Central and Eastern Europe (+10%), and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%). Another region that posted better results than expected was Asia and the Pacific (+6%). Here the performance was mostly boosted by South-East Asia (+12%) and South Asia (+7%). At the same time, the Americas showed quite a poor result (+2%) mostly because of weak performance of the Caribbean and South America.

First six months usually account for 45% of the total number of tourist arrivals (traditional high season months of July and August belong to the second semester). Despite such a strong beginning, it is forecasted that the growth will slow down in the second half of 2013. Now UNWTO forecasts the total growth of arrivals to be slightly above 4%, which is higher than the initial forecast.


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